One Visayas tourism initiative
FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel Abalos (The Freeman) - August 5, 2019 - 12:00am

The Freeman colleague, Ehda M. Dagooc, reported last week that “the three regions in the Visayas are planning to start anew its One Visayas tourism initiative in a bid to package the region as one. The Department of Tourism regional offices in Central Visayas (Region 7), Eastern Visayas (Region 8) and Western Visayas (Region 6) will soon organize its own travel fair to bring in the diverse travel attractions and products within the Visayas in one venue.”

She further reported that “five years ago, the three regions in the Visayas came together to promote diving tourism and other tourism-related activities to provide more options and to lengthen foreign tourists’ stay in the country. Region 6, 7 and 8 have united to come up with one tourism campaign to market the Visayas as a diving destination in the international market through the One Visayas tourism platform.”

She further reported though that, this time, it will not just concentrate on diving tourism but shall also consider the historical and cultural aspects of the Visayas region.

We can’t help but agree to this One Visayas tourism initiative. Indeed, there are so much to promote because the Visayas region is not just so blessed with natural resources, it also has so much to share historically and culturally.

Notably, other countries have maximized such kind of tourism to the hilt. Take the case of the United Kingdom. London, for instance, is the capital of England and the United Kingdom. Its history stretched back to the Roman times. Its most notable landmark is the Buckingham Palace, the British monarchy’s official residence. The Buckingham Palace, though the most imposing of all, is just one of the many palaces in London. The other being the Kensington Palace where Prince Harry and Megan now reside.

While London had several palaces, the Warwick Castle also stands prominently in the County Town of Warwick of Warwickshire, England. It is a medieval castle originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068.

The Town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on the other hand is a medieval market town in England’s West Midlands. While there are no palaces in this town, it is widely known as the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare, the English writer who was so famous for his sonnets and plays such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet.”

All these places are packed with tourists. From the way it looked, all continents were represented. For one, without any activity at all, the Buckingham Palace, the Kensington Palace and the Warwick Castle are already visited by hundreds of tourists each day of the week. Impressively, however, just the mere changing of the guards at the Buckingham Palace draws thousands each time they do it.

Reportedly, while they change guards on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in fall, winter and spring, they do it daily during summer. Obviously, this simple activity alone attracts millions of tourists each year all over the world.

Interestingly, without any reference to royalty, Stratford-upon-Avon is also drawing thousands of tourists on weekends and holidays and hundreds on ordinary days.  The main attraction, William Shakespeare.

These and several other interesting spots perpetually made the United Kingdom among the world’s top performers in the travel and tourism surveys. Specifically, among the World’s top 5 performers.

Despite this clear advantage, they have continued to develop interesting spots and have renovated the old ones. They’ve also made their spots comfortably reachable. Notably too, apart from those interesting spots and their accessibility, they also put premium on safety. They even made it (safety) more compelling to foreign tourists who aren’t familiar of the place and are just there either out of curiosity or plain leisure.

In us, accessibility and safety are of huge concern. For one, devoid of bridges, Panay, Negros, Bohol and Leyte are structurally separated. So that, moving from one island to another is both inefficient and expensive. On the other hand, skirmishes in some provinces in the Visayas made some tourists stay away from the region.

Indeed, in this One Visayas tourism initiative, it is imperative that we must assure the world that their citizens’ safety is our primordial concern. Secondly, we have to continue to develop more innovative products, services and places of interests in the countryside. Lastly, we need to build more infrastructures (like bridges connecting the major islands) and have safe and comfortable modes of transportation to make our products or tourist destinations more accessible.

TOURISM
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