The Department of Tourism (DOT-6) is expecting a spike in the number of tourist arrivals in Western Visayas in the first half of 2019 due to campaign activities.
The campaign period for national candidates in the May 13, 2019 midterm elections started on February 12 while for local bets is set to kick off on March 29 to May 11.
DOT-6 Director Atty. Helen J.Catalbas, in an interview on IMT News’ online program, #DestinationWesternVisayas, said she considers the “election period” as a “tourism event.”
“Why? Because so many national candidates and their handlers are coming to the region,” she explained.
“They contribute to our tourist arrivals and to our tourist receipts,” Catalbas added.
The director noted that Western Visayas is one of the vote-rich regions in the country. Based on data from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), WV has more than four million registered voters.
Meanwhile, Catalbas appealed to candidates to fulfill their campaign promises, especially to promote tourism.
“So many of them (candidates) are promising tourism as their platform of government but after the elections and they won already, they forgot their promises,” she lamented.
According to Catalbas, local officials, under the Local Government Code, “are mandated to promote and develop tourism in their respective areas.”
Despite the mandate, Catalbas said their are still local government units (LGUs) in the region that neglect tourism.
In the province of Iloilo, she disclosed that “nearly half” of the 4 towns and one component city have no “tourism action plan.”
“These towns have also no tourism officers, even designated persons,” Catalbas said.IMT