How to promote Bacolod to travelers

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014


FROM what I know there are only five tour guides in Bacolod accredited by Department of Tourism to promote Bacolod City. In my memory, they are tour promotions brain Maricar Dabao, writer Betzy Gazo, retired advertising executive Bambi Borromeo, former USLS professor Artie Lacson and tourism lady Jennylind Cordero. Are there more?

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Yes they are the city and the province’s tour guides, but who are on top of bringing business and leisure visitors and travelers to Bacolod? Are these the tour operators or travel agents, hoteliers or who? Who is in charge in promoting Bacolod to travelers?

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More than a year back, I recalled that Cebu Pacific Air opened the skies of direct flights between Cagayan de Oro City and the City of Smiles. How are the promotion efforts of the City of Smiles in bringing in domestic tourists and business investors from CDO City? This weekend the airline will open the skies for the Bacolod-Davao direct destination. This is a laudable move of this top budget airline. And the only way for the airline to sustain this is also for the local travel and trade sectors to come up with more viability for frequent travelers to fly between the skies of Davao and Bacolod.

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I believe that there should be sort of Bacolod Negrense Travel and Tourism Board composed of local qualified personalities who understand what tourism, travel and trade is all about. It is best that members of this Board are not the stakeholders in the trade like hoteliers, resort owners, travel agents and the rest. Deeper reason will prove that having them as the decision makers would delay and put to stagnancy the tourism plans.

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In most cases, it has been proven that stakeholders only provide support when the interest of their respective business will greatly benefit from it. If not, then there is an implied indifference in the actions of the Board.

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I have rubbed elbows with officials, members and staff of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Singapore Tourism Board, Malaysian Tourism Board, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Tourism Authority of Thailand and Cambodia Airports. They are all professionals, not owning hotels. They work for the general welfare of tourism. I enjoyed talking and traveling with them.

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In Bacolod, hotel rates should be an attraction. Hoteliers should give travel organizers an attractive rate package so they get enthusiastic to bring in travelers and also get to earn well. Shuttle vans in Bacolod must be reasonable. No doubt about our food tourism as we have the best along with Pampanga food. Where to go and what to do is most important.

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Bring the tourists to one or two churches, not too many; show them two old houses and not three or four; bring them to Manokan Country (but the toilets are awful); bring them for batchoy at 21 restaurant; for cakes at Calea; for giant cheeseburger and big bangus at Bobs; for pasalubong at Bongbong’s, Virgie’s and Merci; and also to The Ruins (heard that entrance fee is too much nowadays?); Campuestohan resort in Talisay City; Pope John Paul Tower at Bredco; San Miguel Brewery; Capitol Lagoon; Ading’s Pala Pala, and I do not know where else.

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Let us all join efforts and make Bacolod a destination. The support of the local governments will just come in and everything will be a success. Cheers to Bacolod, Davao and Cagayan de Oro City.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 21, 2014.

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