The Iloilo Provincial Tourism Office (PTO) sees the Holy Week as an opportunity for the province to showcase its tourism potentials.
Gilbert Marin, provincial tourism officer, said Wednesday he expects an influx of domestic and foreign tourists on April 17, a day before the observance of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
He said the tradition and culture of Ilonggos “is one of the reasons why people love going to Iloilo.”
“Tourists, especially foreigners, are amazed how religious Ilonggos are because we always keep our tradition. We love the tradition and our history,” Marin said in an interview.
He said tourists visit Iloilo during Holy Week for Visita Iglesia, street processions, and the Way of the Cross, among others.
Aside from the religious activities, tourists also grab the opportunity to relax with family and friends.
“Holy Week is a good opportunity for the city dwellers to have the time to go out of the city and explore different places. Our beaches here in the province come alongside with the Visita Iglesia because families also stay and enjoy them during their visit,” he said.
Iloilo will go with faith tourism being one of the main thrusts of the Department of Tourism (DOT) by promoting spots where tourists can reflect and contemplate, Marin said.
The top spots to consider for recollection are the Garin Farm Inland Resort in Purok 2, San Joaquin and the Bucari Pine Forest in Sitio Tabionan, Barangay Bucari, Leon.
Marin added that the PTO also gears to survey visitors arriving in the airports and those from the seaports for the Holy Week. The survey will reveal which activities attract tourists to Iloilo, he said.
These past years, surveys during the Holy Week revealed that aside from religious activities, tourists came to explore the beaches and natural spots.
Marin noted that the Lenten season is “expected to be among the biggest contributors in terms of tourist arrivals” because it coincides with summer.PNA