The 126 Korean golfers who arrived at the Bacolod-Silay Airport early yesterday morning were welcomed by Bacolod City Administrator John Orola and personnel from the Bacolod Tourism and Public Information Offices.
Bacolod City is among the favorite destinations of Koreans which are Boracay, Palawan, Cebu, Pagsanjan, Clark, Subic, Mount Pinatubo and others in the country, South Korean travel organizer/ interpreter, J. Choi of Poureon Tour said yesterday.
He also noted that the city is well-arranged and progressive.
The Koreans arrived on board a chartered flight from Korea, which had to pass through Cebu for immigration processing, at past 3 a.m. yesterday.
Last year there were five flights from Korea that landed at the Bacolod-Silay Airport. There were supposed to be 10 flights arriving at the Bacolod Silay Airport in January and February, but these have been reduced to two because of the failure of the Bureau of Immigration to provide services at the airport in Silay.
Direct flights from South Korea will mean a bigger tourist influx from that country, he said.
On Monday, another batch of 120 Koreans will visit Bacolod and if a direct-flight from Korea to Bacolod-Silay Airport can be facilitated, more Korean tourists will be pouring in, he said.
Orola said this latest Korean visit will have a great impact on the local economy of Bacolod, as each visitor is estimated to spend P3,000 to 5,000 per day, or even more, as they buy souvenir items and other products from the city.
Choi estimated that about 300 South Koreans visited the city last year.
He forecasts a big number of Koreans who may come to see the coming Bacolaodiat Festival and the internationally-known MassKara Festival. He added that it will be difficult to determine the number of Koreans coming if the much-expected direct flights from Korea to Bacolod-Silay airport take place.
Choi said his countrymen prefer to come in December, January and February each year.
If Customs, Immigration and Quarantine processes are undertaken in the local airport, Orola forecasts a much greater number of Korean visitors in Bacolod.
Choi said tourists from his country will be saved the tremendous inconvenience from stopovers in Manila and Cebu, if a direct flight can be facilitated.
The Korean golfers who arrived yesterday morning were billeted at the L’Fisher and Planta Hotels before their golfing schedules in Victorias and Marapara, that are part of their three to four days’ stay in Bacolod. They also plan to visit the hot springs at the Mambucal Summer Resort.
Lolita Pushpa Tan, president of the National Independent Travel Agents Association-Negros, said travel agents and other stakeholders of the tourism industry in the province are coming up with a manifesto on Monday requesting the Bureau of Immigration to put up permanent personnel at the Bacolod-Silay Airport to facilitate direct flights from other countries.
She said they are all interested to put Bacolod and Negros Occidental on the tourism map.*CGS