BACOLOD CITY, March 17 (PNA) — Foreseeing that the sugar industry will experience slump by 2015, the provincial government of Negros Occidental is counting on its tourism industry as its potential economic driver.
In line with this, the provincial government through its Provincial Tourism Office is intensifying its tourism promotion campaign focusing not only on the province’s beautiful scenic spots but on agriculture as well.
The province has, in fact, been chosen as partner of Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) for this year’s International Food Exhibition (IFEX), the country’s biggest government-organized food exhibition.
The event provides venue for Negros Occidental to feature its organic food brands which include the Gourmet Spices and Specialties Light Muscovado and Organic Coffee Mt. Kanlaon Premium Blend.
The provincial governments of Negros Occidental and Oriental also inked pact aimed at transforming Negros Island as “Organic Food Bowl of Asia” way back in 2005.
Since the establishment of strong ties between the two provinces, the former registered an increase in rice harvest and other agricultural products. In 2012 for instance, Negros Occidental became 96 percent rice-sufficient.
Blending agriculture and tourism as province’s economic driver can be seen in the number of tourism revenues that Negros Occidental incurred from agri-tours and other festivities.
Records from Provincial Tourism Office showed Negros Occidental was able to attract more than a million tourists last year and generated P2.1 billion revenues from them.
Bulk of the tourism receipts last year was contributed by domestic tourists (P1.6 billion) and foreigners (P265 million).
Excursionist gave the province P186 million while returning overseas Filipino workers spent P26 million in province’s resorts, restaurants, and pension houses.
South Koreans remained the province top foreign tourism market with 30, 564 arrivals last year, followed by Americans (3,032), Japanese (1,563), Australians (986), Germans (705), Canadians (663) and British (630).
Most of these tourists spent their vacation in Mambukal Mountain Health Resort in Murcia town while others were attending conventions in metro and component cities of province. (PNA)