TWELVE members of the press and social media influencers from Malaysia are currently in Negros Occidental for a six-day experiential tourism tour seen to showcase mainly the province’s farm and ecotourism, beaches, resorts, and festival offerings.
They are accompanied by two representatives from the Tourism Promotions Board, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT), and Philippine’s DOT in Malaysia.
Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said the experiential tourism tour that started on Wednesday, October 24, includes visits in Danjugan Island and Punta Bulata Resort in Cauayan town, May’s Organic Garden in Bacolod City, Lakawon Island Resort in Cadiz City, and MassKara Festival also in Bacolod City.
Mansinares said the foreign television crew and social media influencers including travel bloggers and vloggers, and YouTubers will going to experience the activities offered by every destination like swimming, diving, kayaking, and trekking, among others.
“They will be received by City Government 0f Bacolod as guests during the highlights of the MassKara Festival celebration,” she said, adding that the tour is initiated by DOT-Malaysia in coordination with the TPB and DOT in Western Visayas.
Prior to their visit in Negros Occidental, the group also toured in Panay Island particularly in Iloilo, which has direct flights from Singapore.
Aside from direct flights from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Manila, some tourists pass through Singapore directly to Iloilo City.
Mansinares said that since Bacolod City is just an hour away from Iloilo, Negros Occidental is included in the tourism loop, especially for the said experiential tourism tour.
This is part of the DOT’s marketing campaign given the availability of direct flights from other countries like Singapore to Iloilo, Mansinares said.
“We are really looking forward to the expansion of Bacolod–Silay Airport so it can cater to international on top of domestic flights,” she added.
Negros Occidental has been open to experiential tourism trips for foreign media. In fact, the province has already received two other batches of such group of visitors two years ago.
This means that the province has a lot to offer despite the absence of direct international flights, Mansinares said.
She said that “aside from our connectivity with Manila through the airport, we have seaports that connect us to other islands with direct flights from overseas thus, foreign tourists also overspill in the province.”
Moreover, the experiential tourism tour will boost the local tourism industry as it is seen to attract more tourists coming from Malaysia.
“This group of foreign visitors will help us sell and promote Negros Occidental in Malaysia through their different media platforms,” the provincial tourism added.