TACLOBAN CITY – The Leyte Provincial Tourism Office launched the Gr8 Leyte Homecoming program, a tourism campaign for the celebration of the 80th Leyte Gulf Landings Commemoration aims to promote tourism and improved local economy.

Leyte Tourism consultant Frances Ann Petilla explained that creating the program that aims to attract diverse audience of locals, tourists, and even expatriates in the Gr8 Leyte Homecoming, showcasing the province cultural richness, historical significance, natural beauty, and economic premier through exhibitions, performances, and interactive experiences.

The program also aims for a positive media coverage and publicity to raise awareness and interest in Leyte as a premier destination for culture, heritage, and tourism.

The program also aims to support local businesses, artisans, performers, and cultural practitioners, fostering economic opportunities and cultural sustainability.

One component of the Gr8 Leyte Homecoming is the “Reunion Program” which, according to Petilla, is an invitation for Leyteňos who are already living abroad and those who are working as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to “look back, bring back, or give back to their home province,” by promoting tourism.

Reunion Program is a competition wherein Leyteňo OFWs and those who are already living abroad will have to submit a video entry to the Leyte Provincial Tourism Office that contains their information, how long have they been living abroad, the reason why they leave Leyte, and the reason why they are coming back.

Each month, a winner will be drawn from the entries and will win accommodation package, a three day all-expenses paid tour,and souvenirs.

Also part of the program is the participation of local government units under the province by submitting “Gr8 materials”. These are video promotion of their locality, either containing a well-research history of the LGU, a unique culture of the town, a tourism campaign video, or a video of the town or city’s heritage which will be posted at the Leyte Tourism page.

Bee Creatives event’s organizers Pete Figueroa said that featuring the LGUs gives them the spotlight and venue or platform in promoting their tourism program or offering.

Two LGUs will be featured every week at the Leyte Tourism Facebook Page for 22 weeks.
The Gr8 Leyte Homecoming program is a year-round campaign in relation to the 80th Leyte Gulf Landings Commemoration which will be celebrated this October 20 to commemorate the arrival of the Allied Forces lead by General Douglas McArthur to start the rally of liberating the country from the hands of Japanese Imperial Forces during World War II.

Department of Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said that even before this program of Leyte Tourism has been conceptualized, local tour operators and the tourism agencies had developed a tour package dubbed as sentimental tours.

This is a tour package with the itinerary focuses on visiting World War II engagement sites in the province of Leyte.

“But this time we enhance the program by ensuring that it is not only the sites that are ready but also those who are providing the tour services are providing above par,” Tiopes said.