LEGAZPI CITY: Official tourism data are showing that there is a substantial increase in the number of visitors to the provinces of Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon in the Bicol region, which has been dubbed Almasor, phonetically meaning “soul of the south.”
Albay Gov Joey Salceda said tourism arrivals in the three provinces registered encouraging growth in 2012 compared to 2011, particularly Sorsogon which posted a 31% hike mostly due to interactive tours with whale shark, and Albay with 24%.
Masbate also posted a modest growth.
Salceda, chairman of the Bicol Regional Development Council, said the Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon Tourism Alliance (Almasor) was organized last year to strengthen tourism promotion and help the three provinces lure at least 650,000 tourists annually within the next five years.
Salceda said they have noted a substantial increase in the number of tourists who inquire about tourism activities in the three provinces at drop by daily at Albay’s Provincial Tourism and Cultural Office.
The favorite activities are Mayon Volcano climbing, sightseeing and souvenir opportunities at the Cagsawa Ruins, the Daraga Church, the Lignon Hill, and the lava tours all in Albay, and the popular whale shark interaction in Donsol, Sosogon.
The island province of Masbate also offers coves and beautiful beaches that satisfy international standards, but they are still largely unexploited and need to be promoted more creatively, Salceda said. – Manila Standard Today