Agencies urged to produce, develop competitive tourism experience-A A +A
Sunday, January 6, 2013
THE newly installed officers of the National Association of Independent Travel Agency (NAITAS) were earlier urged to develop competitive tourism experiences to attract more tourists to come and visit the various tourist destinations in Western Visayas.
Department of Tourism Regional Director for Western Visayas Helen Katalbas said this is in line with the thrust of the Department of Tourism.
“We need to be more aggressive in creating tourism experience or else we cannot find our proper place under the tourism sun. We have to strengthen and push for connectivity and accessibility,” said Katalbas.
“There is no use for us to put our money and our efforts on destinations that cannot be reached because there are no good road networks, the market is so far away from the tourist attractions. There are no shipping lines servicing the area whether a beach or coastal destination.”
“We are pushing for more domestic and international connection for Western Visayas…" she said.
NAITAS has its new set of officers headed by its President Lolita "Pushpa" Tan.
She succeeded former NAITAS president Pinky Hautea during the induction of officers and members held at Sugarland hotel last Friday.
The gathering was graced by former Bacolod City Representative Monico Puentevella, City Administrator lawyer John Orola and Councilor Em Ang.
Katalbas said there is a need for the Bacolod-Silay airport to be expanded, including Kalibo and Roxas, to accommodate big aircrafts.
"I see no reason why we cannot market the mainland Negros and Sipalay island. I think the San Carlos port has the capability to handle cruise ship. But we have to develop the tourism experience somewhere in the area," she added.
Last year, WV accommodated 2.4 million tourists.
"Our target for this year, we hope to achieve 2.6 million. Bacolod and Negros contributed around 390,000 tourists. I don't believe that it is all that we got. It is not enough for us to market and promote but also very important to account for our arrivals properly because tourist arrivals are the best evidence of how effective or ineffective our tourism promotion and marketing activities have been," she said.
Hotels should give incentives to tour agents. She also urged agents and hotels to work hand in hand in attracting tourists.
“The travel agents and tour operators are the movers and suppliers of warm bodies to the hotels, resorts, airlines, shipping lines, buses, among others. They should be the most privileged of all the individuals working in the tourism industry. And that is NAITAS. But in this region, I realized, it is not the case," she said.
She urged them to change to the mindset where hotels should give travel agents rates that are lower where they can make it as the basis for making their own living.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 07, 2013.