THE Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) predicts that the province of Catanduanes will become a major tourism destination in the country over the next two years because of its vast potential, particularly for eco-tourism.
Danilo Cerdeña, PTAA vice president for inbound tours, said on Wednesday that they will work closely with the local government units (LGUs) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) to drum up tourism in the province.
“It is largely an untapped tourism destination. Travelers are hesitant to visit the province because it has the reputation of being an entry point of typhoons into the country. But during our familiarization tour, we have seen the vast potential of Catanduanes,” Cerdeña said.
He also added: “What we can do initially as an association is for our members to individually promote the province to their respective markets and come out with tour packages for Catanduanes and its eco-tourism destinations.”
Cerdeña said they will also invite the province’s LGUs and their tourism offices to its events and activities, including the annual Travel Tour Expo. They will also provide slots for the province’s tourism stakeholders to the association’s various trainings and seminars.
“There is slow development in terms of tourism infrastructure and the province itself has yet to come out with a long-term tourism plan. There is also a lack of trainings for its tourism frontline officers,” he said.
But Cerdeña said the province has also made strides, especially after it started a campaign last year branding the province as the country’s Happy Island.
“There is a bit of Batanes and Baler that can be found in the province and its very friendly and accommodating people are its biggest asset,” he said.
Government data showed that for the first half of 2016, a total of 105,557 foreign and domestic tourists visited the province.
“The PTAA intends to boost tourist arrivals in the province. There is now a demand among travelers for alternative destinations in the country,” Cerdeña said.
Formed in 1978, the PTAA is the government’s leading partner in promoting and developing tourism in the country.