TACLOBAN CITY- Pope Francis’ visit to the region early next year is expected to boost its tourism industry. Businessman Oliver Cam said that the January visit of the Holy Father is expected to help improve Eastern Visayas economy with the influx of tourists, both coming from other parts and outside of the country.

“It will be significant as well as a big challenge to the community. Both international and regional domestic tourism are going to be boosted. As early as now, most of the hotels are already fully booked from December to 3rd week of January” Cam, vice president of the Welcome Home Pensionne, said. Francis is to arrive in the country on January 15 to 19, 2014 and is expected to visit Leyte where he is to hold a mass and had expressed his desire to meet with victims of supertyphoon Yolanda.

Earlier, a team from the Vatican arrived Tacloban to conduct site inspection where the Holy Father would conduct a mass. The team also visited the town of Palo for a possible site of the incoming visit of the Holy Father who would become the first ever Pope to visit Eastern Visayas, home to more than 4 million Catholics.(ARCHIE FAYE V.BELCHES,LNU Intern)