Sanchez: Domestic wanderlust

I LIKE to travel – whether abroad or domestic. My life as an NGO (non government organization) worker gave me opportunities for official, i.e., free travel.

I’ve been to many provinces in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. There was a time early this decade that I traveled once or twice a month. I’m happy to note that because of that, I’m helping the national economy to grow.

“Domestic tourism is booming,” says former Senate President Manny Villar, noting that it’s “even outpacing the growth of international tourism.”

Continued Villar, he bragged that he “predicted that tourism could be the third of a three-legged stream of foreign-exchange earnings for the Philippine economy, the other two being remittances from overseas Filipinos and the business-process outsourcing (BPO) industry.”

He added that “the growth of domestic tourism has several important implications. First, it reflects the growing middle-class population of the Philippines. Second, it helps generate more employment than if the industry would depend only on foreign visitors. Third, it increases the tourism industry’s contribution to the economy.”

In other words, Filipinos are helping other Filipinos with job opportunities when they go around the country.

Now this happy news. SunStar Bacolod reported that Negros Occidental is the second most visited place in the country by Filipino domestic travelers, results of the 2016 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors recently released by the Philippine Statistics Authority and Department of Tourism showed.

Behind National Capital Region, Negros Occidental outpaced Pangasinan, Cavite, Quezon, Bohol, Cebu, Camarines Sur, Laguna, and Leyte in the list of top 10 most visited places.

Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said this week, being tagged as one of the favorite destinations in the country is a big boost to the tourism industry of Negros Occidental. Tin said that 96 percent of the province’s tourist arrivals are domestic.

What are the Negrense unique selling points to other Filipinos? They spent money most on transportation, shopping, and food and beverages.
A colleague and a recent visitor from Manila, Maia Urata, said she was amazed at the number of restaurants around her bed and breakfast billet. A selling point are our inasals (grilled food), whether chicken or fish. For her, it’s an indicator that the Negrense is on the move upwards.

Another potential tourism sites are the solar farms, making the province as the numero uno for renewable energy. However, this needs to be hyped.
Congratulations to various Negrense tourism officials for putting the up province for tourist arrivals.