‘Spark Samar’ tourism drive wins bronze in Vienna award
TACLOBAN CITY –– The Samar province tourism campaign dubbed “Spark Samar” won a bronze medal in this year’s International Business Award (IBA) held in Vienna, Austria on October 19.
In her Facebook post, former Samar governor and now Rep. Sharee Ann Tan said they were overwhelmed by the award.
“This award has inspired us, even more, to continue the Spark Samar Development Agenda to completely transform our communities and ensure that economic prosperity is felt by all,” Tan said.
Tan launched Spark Samar in 2015 when she was the governor of the province to attract more tourists to Samar.
The province is home to several tourist destinations like the Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge in Basey town, considered the third biggest cave in the country; Lulugayan Falls in Calbiga town touted to be a “mini Niagara Falls” due to its several multi-level falls; and several rock formations, particularly in Marabut town.
The Samar website says the 16-year old IBA Award, popularly known as the ‘Stevie Award’ is considered the world’s only international, all-encompassing business awards organization to give honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide.
Also receiving the bronze medal award were entries from Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.
The Spark Samar campaign, launched by the provincial government in 2015 to attract tourists and investors to the province, was submitted by their communication partner, Binary Digital Advertising Inc. based in Pasig, City.
Mike Cristobal of the provincial tourism office said since the Spark Samar campaign was launched, tourist arrivals in the province have dramatically increased.
In 2017, the province was visited by 119,119 tourists, generating an income of about P1.9 billion.
The following year, Samar had 201,007 tourists with tourism receipts of P2.8 billion.
“And for this year, we expect more tourists visiting our province and we can say that part of this is our Spark Samar campaign as more and more (tourists) are becoming aware of what we can offer to them,” Cristobal said in a phone interview.
Cristobal said his office hoped to sustain the gains they have so far achieved due to their Spark Samar campaign.
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