Tourism shines after ‘Yolanda’
TACLOBAN CITY—The tourism industry in Eastern Visayas, a region still reeling from the devastation left by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) has started to bring much needed income for people and local governments.
According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), at least three million tourists visited the provinces of Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar, generating revenues of at least P3.2 billion in 2014.
The figure was higher than that of 2013. The region was hit hard by Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013.
The monster storm, the strongest to make landfall in history, killed more than 7,000 people and destroyed P130 billion in property.
Karina Rosa Tiopes, DOT director for Eastern Visayas, said the number of tourists that visited Eastern Visayas in 2014 could be considered a “milestone.”
She attributed the increase in tourist arrivals to the government campaign to bring in tourists and the support of the private sector and local governments.
“Tourism is everybody’s business,” said Tiopes.
She, however, admitted that the thousands of members of various humanitarian groups, both foreign and local, fueled the increase in arrivals.
These groups are helping the survivors and local governments recover from Yolanda.
These volunteers, she said, are also considered as tourists. “Everyone is counted,” she said.
Among the attractions that draw tourists in the region are the Sto. Niño Shrine in Tacloban City; the Kalanggaman Island in Palompon town, Leyte; Lake Danao Park in Ormoc City; Maasin City Zoo in Maasin City; and Sohoton Caves in Basey, Samar.