LEGAZPI CITY, March 15 (PNA) -- The South Bicol Tourism Development Area (TDA) headed by Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda has included the island province of Catanduanes in the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon (ALMASOR) cluster.
“I believe we have made a strong case for the inclusion of Catanduanes in the South Bicol TDA, more popularly known locally and globally as ALMASOR, the rising star of Philippine tourism,” Salceda, concurrently the Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) chair, said Thursday.
Historically, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate and Catanduanes belong to one administrative unit or province and this is one of the basis for the inclusion of the latter to the cluster, Salceda explained.
Another basis, he said, is that it is socio-culturally given that Catanduanes has shared deeper and more long-standing linkages with Albay, including intermarriages or interrelationships.
As of now, the principal trade and passenger flows of Catanduanes is with Albay, with its port in Tabaco City.
These relationships further spice up the synergies and boost the structural attractions of the South Bicol TDA as Catanduanes has for itself the majestic Puraran surfing ground, exotic beachfronts and old churches like Bato and Batalay, Salceda said.
“I understand that the Department of Tourism (DOT) agrees with our position in principle and the tourism merger will be operationalized through an RDC resolution and a revision of the DOT work program,” he added.
From ALMASOR, the new brand name of the South Bicol TDA will be consulted with the leaders of the four provinces under this new alliance and with the inputs of ad agencies.
Catanduanes was earlier included in the first alliance with the provinces of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte called the Catanduanes-Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte Tourism Link (CCTL) being complemented by the ALMASOR.
These two alliances form the tourism road map for the entire region, conceptualized to achieve development not only in mainland but also in its two island provinces—Catanduanes and Masbate.
This calls for a more integrated and comprehensive promotion strategy to market the potentials of the regional tourism industry, eyeing some 650,000 foreign tourist arrivals in the area annually within five years. (PNA) FPV/FGS/CBD/EBP