The Department of Tourism in Eastern Visayas has thrown its support on sports tourism. Photo shows participants of the recently-held Open Dart Tournament held in Palo, Leyte which attracted foreign players.(ROEL T. AMAZONA)

TACLOBAN CITY – The regional office of the Department of Tourism (DOT) is ready to assist local government units and organizations who want to organize big sports events.
Thus said DOT Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes who said that sports tourism falls under their MICE or Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions/Events.
“We are very much supportive of entities or organizations that promotes sports tourism. The activities they do can generate more arrivals and when we say more arrivals, we means more income for those who are in the mainstream tourism industry,” Tiopes said.
“As of right now, we are already of hosting national conventions, sports competitions in some areas in the region that are relatively ready. It just need additional facilities,” the tourism regional director added.
In the region, among the biggest sports competition is the Philippine Open International Darts Championship, an event of the National Darts Federation of the Philippines of the Darts Organization of Tacloban is a member.
For two consecutive years now, the international event has been held in Palo, Leyte where close to a thousand of darts players are competing against the best competitors in said sport.
“We are giving local players a venue for them to compete with world class players, this is a big opportunity for them to face this big players in the international arena,” Florencio “Bem” Noel, national darts federation chairman of the board, said.
Bringing the competition to Leyte will also test the local darts players’ talents and nerve which will eventually hone them and make them one of the best talents in Asia and put the nation in the map as far as dart talent is concern, he added.
Noel said that the past two years that they have staged the international event in Leyte were successful which encouraged them to hold the Philippine Open tentatively set on April, 2020.
He added that from 28 foreign competitors last year, the number has now reached to about a 100 international darts players.
Noel said that some of them have already signified their interest to visit some of the region’s tourist destinations like the Kalanggaman Island in Palompon.
Another big event in the region is the annual Abre-Grande Lawig, a kayak competition held in Palompon town, Leyte.
In Tacloban City, the biggest sport competition is a dragon boat competition which is organized by the Saltwater Dragons of Tacloban City in support to the city government’s yearly commemoration of the onslaught of super typhoon ‘Yolanda.’