A PROVINCE in southern Luzon this week landed an unprecedented three key back-to-back conferences organised by ASEAN and the UN World Tourism Organization (WTO).
Legazpi City in Albay province will host the 40th Meeting of the ASEAN Plus Three National Tourism Organizations (May 15-17), the 26th Joint Meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization Commissions for East Asia and the Pacific and South Asia (May 18), and the UNWTO-ASEAN Conference on Tourism and Climate Change (May 19-20).
Commented Maria Ong-Ravanilla, DoT Region V (Bicol) director: “It’s a breakthrough for Albay, which is viewed as something of a dark horse...having been recognised and chosen for these three events is more than enough for us.”
The emerging MICE destination received 800,000 visitors in 2013 for a 66 per cent increase in tourist arrivals over the previous year, Ong-Ravanilla added.
The 115-room Oriental Hotel in the city, which has 2,200m2 of meeting space – including a 1,191 m2 ballroom that can accommodate up to 700 pax for cocktails – will welcome a third of the estimated 1,000 delegates coming to these three events. Remaining delegates will be billeted at the 40-key St Ellis and 40-room Hotel Venezia.
Albay’s natural attractions will come under the spotlight during the conferences through themed dinners at the Cagsawa Ruins, Ligñon Hills, and a tertulia dinner party at the Nuestra Senora de Porteria church in Daraga town.
To further showcase the destination, UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai will be flown to a helipad near the Mayon volcano crater for cocktails with local dignitaries, and then to luxury resort Misibis Bay at nearby Cagraray Island, Ong-Ravanilla said.