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DOT urges foreign, local tourists to visit other islands

Tourism officials are urging local and foreign tourists to discover the other beautiful destinations in the Philippines, weeks before Boracay’s closure on April 26.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said all tourism offices are now readying destinations that are prepared for the influx of visitors.

“We have already told all our regional offices to ready their products,” she said Wednesday, adding that besides Boracay, the Philippines, as one of Asia’s tropical paradises, offers a number of beaches that are unique in their own way.

Teo said the country has beaches in Pagudpud, Ilocos, where the stretch of fine white sand is comparable to Boracay’s.

There are also Siargao island, dubbed as the surfing capital of the country; the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao; the Camiguin Beach’s turquoise waters; and other tourism treasures hidden in the country’s 7,641 islands, she said.

Teo said Filipinos and foreigners alike should give these places a chance.

Meanwhile, as the Department of Tourism tries to divert Boracay’s market to other islands, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) wants to highlight urban destinations, especially those in Metro Manila.

Maricon Ebron, chief of the TPB’s Marketing and Promotions Sector, said they have already met with tourism stakeholders and travel agencies to craft an alternative plan for tourists supposed to visit Boracay from April to August this year.

Other prominent tourist spots are still highlighted, but Ebron said it is high time for tourism in urban areas to be promoted.

“We have to also assess Metro Manila, which is often overlooked,” she said.

“All services are here and from Manila, you can go to other places like Cavite, Laguna and Batangas, which equally have attractions,” she added.

The two agencies are in a bid to hit two birds with one stone by drumming up other places in the Philippines that can be potentially popular, aside from Boracay, which has been a long-time favorite of foreigners.

In recent statements, Teo said the island’s shutdown serves as a “blessing in disguise” for other destinations to shine. PNA

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