LEGAZPI CITY: To serve a bigger influx of domestic and foreign tourists expected to come on international flights to and from Albay, Bicolano business tycoon Elizaldy “Zaldy” Co has announced plans for building a bigger hotel on Cagraray Island before the completion of Bicol International Airport.
The Misibis Bay Resort and Casino, a high-end resort on the island where the rich and famous go for vacations, will be expanded to accommodate more guests, Co said.
Co said international travel agencies have been asking for bigger accommodation facilities as more tourists are now expected in the Bicol region, specifically in Legazpi and other Albay localities. International flights were opened in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in December to be hosted by Albay.
He said there was a need to build more hotels in Legazpi that could accommodate more than 1,000 tourists as 250 cities in China will soon be sending travellers on two planes daily.
The maiden international flight from China to Albay was on the eve of Chinese New Year when 150 tourists flew directly from Xiamen to the Legazpi airport in partnership with the Philippine Airlines. On Tuesday, the second batch of 156 Chinese from Xiamen Fujian province of the People’s Republic of China disembarked here.
Department of Tourism Bicol director Maria Nini Ong-Ravanilla told the Times that that next batch of foreign tourists arriving in Legazpi are Korean and Russian.
“They choose Legazpi City, Albay province over the usual Cebu and Davao as the new tourist and economic hub in Philippines because of our unique ecotourism destinations which could not be found in other regions,” Co told The Manila Times.
“If our airport could only accommodate a night flight more foreign tourists will be coming here because night flights are less expensive,” he said.
Co, the chief executive officer of Sunwest Group of Companies, helped the government fast-track the recovery of Albay after the catastrophic Super Typhoon Reming in November 2006.
His father hails from Xiamen, China, Co said. He added that Chinese tourists never hesitate to come here because they share the same roots with Filipinos.