TACLOBAN CITY– The provincial government of Northern Samar has lined up several tourism-related activities in a bid to revive its tourism industry that was affected by the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The efforts started with the holding of Sinulog-like festivals in the 24 towns of the province last month honoring Santo Niño.
Allen Berbon, provincial information officer, said that reviving the province’s tourism industry is one of the top priorities of the provincial government under Governor Edwin Ongchuan.
The governor, he said, has approved the holding of several tourism-related activities as a way to attract tourists and in the process, help the economy of the province.
“It is a top priority along with economic development,” Berbon said on why the governor is pushing for the revival of the tourism industry affected by the pandemic.
Among these activities include the skimboarding and triathlon competitions; the return of the province-wide Ibabao Festival; and the summer festival slated in April of this year which includes, among others, the holding of kite competition; and local food festival.
Berbon said that all local government units in the province are also gearing towards reviving their own tourism industries, adding that they are also ‘tourism-friendly mayors.’
He added that with the revival of tourism-related activities and festivals, will help ‘rekindle the tourism industry of the province.’
Berbon also said that the people of the province themselves are happy that the festivals in their respective areas have resumed after two years in hiatus.
“They were happy that after two years of hiatus, we were able to celebrate our culture and faith through these festivals,” Berbon said.
Based on the data of the Department of Tourism in the region, Northern Samar has attracted 110,987 both local and foreign tourists in 2019, the year before the pandemic started.
However, when the pandemic started in 2020, the province which is also known for its white beaches and rock formations, was visited by just 14,389 tourists.
But the number of tourists saw an increase in 2021 with more than 208,000 tourists going to the province.
(JOEY A. GABIETA)