Legazpi City’s tourist arrivals on the rise
By Cet Dematera
After more than two years of difficulties brought about by the various health and safety protocols due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, Legazpi City’s tourism industry is starting to rebound as tourist arrivals continue to increase in the past months.
Agapita Pacres, head of the City Tourism Office (CTO), said that from a drastic drop of close to 68,000 in 2020 compared to over 1.2-million tourist arrivals in pre-pandemic 2019, the figure climbed up in 2021 to 98,000 local and foreign visitors, or an increase of around 30 percent.
As many parts of the country are now placed under Alert level 1, some 36,000 local and foreign tourists had already visited Legazpi City, where the cone-shaped Mayon Volcano is located, in the first three months of this year.
“In fact, in 2017, Legazpi city was one of the top tourist destinations in Southern Luzon that recorded 1,275,710 tourist arrivals in 2017; 1,254,353 visitors in 2018, and slightly increased to 1,278,115 arrivals in 2019, or before Covid-19 hit the country”, Pacres said.
She said that at the height of the pandemic, the tourism sector was gravely affected, adding that several hotels and restaurants, and other business establishments stopped their operations due the various lockdowns in order to contain the pandemic.
“But in 2021, when business establishments resumed their operations, the tourism sector has started to improve and is being expected to boom again”, Pacres added.
She said that her office has regularly conducted profiling of all the visitors who entered the Bicol International Airport (BIA), adding that if they are compliant with all the requirements and other documentation they would receive a pasa porte from the CTO.
“Issuance of pasa porte is part of the projects of the City Tourism Services Division (CTSD) in partnership with Legazpi Stakeholders Council (LSC; Albay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI; and, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)”, Pacres explained.
She said that the CTO has facilitated the tapping of the tourism front-liners who were utilized in quarantine facilities.
“We also facilitated the seminar and training on Filipino brand of service in coordination with the Department of Tourism (DOT) Bicol and also the service quality training in partnership with the Legazpi Public Employment Services Office (PESO)”, Pacres said.
Pacres also said that the CTO has also recorded 26 meetings, incentives, conference, and exhibitions (MICE) conducted in Legazpi last year.