Negros Occidential launches ‘Lakbayanihan Fair’ to boost tourism
BACOLOD CITY — The Negros Occidental provincial government kicked off its first Lakbayanihan Fair on Monday, May 16, to lift its tourism industry which had been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have a vast potential for tourism, food tourism, farm tourism, and even sports tourism. Before the COVID crisis, our tourism industry was advancing and was steadily gaining ground. Let us take that momentum back,” said Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson during the opening of the fair at the Ayala Malls Capitol Central in Bacolod City that will run until May 29.
Tourism Regional Director Cristine Mansinares said Negros Occidental and Bacolod City are ranked second in terms of most number of accredited tourism enterprises.
The Department of Tourism is targeting 50 more enterprises in the area for accreditation during the fair.
“Safety is one of the top considerations of travelers now and tourism enterprises must adhere to a set of health and safety standards to be accredited,” Mansinares explained.
Lacson said the fair will help bring back tourists to Negros Occidental.
“We’re hoping that things will really get better and that travelers will start coming back to Negros,” he said.
“I guess the Filipinos are just waiting to see if the pandemic has really gone down,” he added.
The tourism fair showcases Negrense arts, handicrafts, authentic local cuisine, destinations, and cultural festivities.
“It is now common knowledge that the tourism sector was among those gravely altered and affected by the COVID crisis,” Lacson said in his speech during the opening rites.
“And now, here we are, opening our province to travelers and tourism, though carefully and cautiously,” he added.