Local tourism stakeholders in the region described it as the ‘next big thing’ to happen to the tourism sector of the region which was affected by the pandemic caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The tour package will showcase the good transportation linkage between Luzon and Eastern Visayas going to major tourism sites within the Asian Highway.
A product audit of the tourist destinations to be visited in the three main islands of the region was conducted by the regional Department of Tourism (DOT) office and the members of the Philippine Travel Agency Associations sometimes last month.
Eliezer Casas of EC Minds Tour said that the tour is designed as a long-haul tour package that will last for at least 10 days, starting in Northern Samar province once the bus that carries tourists crosses Matnog, Sorsogon to Allen town.
“Ang Eastern Visayas is siya ang gateway kung pupunta ka ng Mindanao and Visayas region bukod sa magaganda ang lugar. Kung ano ang makikita mo sa ibang lugar sa Pilipinas, makikita mo rin sa Eastern Visayas,” Casas said when asked why they chose the region to offer the tour package.
Included in the list of itinerary under the Eastern Visayas Asian Highway Network Road Trip are Sila Island in San Vicente, Lalaguna Mangrove Eco Park in Lavezares, and Biri Island, all in Northern Samar.
Waterfalls, diving sites, river cruises, and farms tourism can also be found in the region but Eastern Visayas is not only about natural attractions as it is also rich in historical places like Limasawa Island Casas said.
Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said that the region has everything to offer to tourists.
“We will be going to show that Eastern Visayas really has a lot of tourism assets for people to discover,” she said.
“Sabi pa nga naming, infinite escapes from Northern Samar going down to Leyte, marami kang makikita not just sites but also you can experience a different kind of tourist activities that are being offered in the region. It’s more like really discovering Eastern Visayas and getting to know the people and our culture,” Tiopes added.
To promote the tour package, a familiarization tour is set to be conducted next month with participants coming from various tour operators from Metro Manila and Luzon.
The Eastern Visayas Asian Highway Network Road Trip will also help in revitalizing the tourism business of the region as it gears toward recovery after the pandemic.
Aside from the familiarization tour set next month is the business-to-business (B2B) meeting between buyers (tour operators from Luzon and Metro Manila) and sellers (tourism enterprise stakeholders in Eastern Visayas), and benchmarking activity.
“Hopefully this tourism restart will also restart the profit of our tourism stakeholders,” Pocholo Franco, Eastern Visayas Tourism Association president, said.
“Restart not only in survival mode but also thrive mode,” he added. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)