Balloon fest boosts local economy

LUBAO -- The four-day hot air balloon festival is expected to boost the local economy of this town and nearby areas because of the exodus of tourists from different parts of the country and abroad.

Director Ronnie Tiotuico of the Department of Tourism Central Luzon Office (DOT-3) said the tourism event will benefit local entrepreneurs and some establishments that offer Kapampangan products.

Even before the opening of the Hot Air Balloon Festival some tourists already booked their accommodation in the City of San Fernando, Olongapo, and Clark. Some explore the area to buy locally-made souvenir items, foods and pastries.

He said half of the stalls in the area of the festival were occupied by locals who sell food, pastries, hand-made products and souvenir items while other ambulant vendors were peddling an assortment of locally made goods.

Rita Alfonso, a native of this town who sells peanuts, corn and quail eggs, said she generated the highest sales she had since starting the trade.

"During ordinary days I only earned P200 or less but now from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. only my profit is already P800 and I’m still selling," she said.

Tiotuico disclosed that they are expecting hundreds of thousands of visitors to witness the take-off of the 35 giant balloons.

"This event is meant to bring people together to appreciate not only the balloons but also the products and other destinations in the province that they can visit after. On Friday, presidential sister Kris Aquino and her family will come to witness the festival," said Tiotuico.

He said that the DOT-3 is expecting about P500-million in revenue from the festival. (Jenna Lumbang-Parungao/Pampanga PIO)

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