Press Releases

Statement on the non-exclusion of Mt. Mayon in the Official Tourism Promotion Video of the Department of Tourism

June 28th, 2023

By Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda
Albay, 2nd district

I remain disappointed in my friend, Secretary Frasco, for the exclusion of Mayon Volcano in the new official tourism video of the Philippines.

I am more disappointed in the response that I should not bring this issue up because, anyway, Mayon is included in the 50 major volcanoes and mountains represented (by a pixel!) in the official tourism logo and slogan.

I express this frustration because tourism is disproportionately more crucial in Albay, and Bicol at large. This is how thousands of Albayano families make a living. It would not have cost much to include just a scene of Mayon, but it would have meant the world to Albay families relying on tourism for their bread and butter.

  1. We have the only international airport in South Luzon: Bicol International Airport, which this government calls “the most scenic international gateway in the country.” It would have helped improve the government’s value-for-money for BIA to promote Mayon and Albay.
  2. Per capita, Albay is one of the country’s most important tourist destinations. Pre-pandemic, it attracted 1.32 tourists per resident, when the top region, Central Visayas, attracts just 1.17, and the national average being 0.55.
  3. Bicol’s economy depends heavily on tourism, moreso than the rest of the country. Last year, accommodation and food service (the most direct sector affected by tourism) was 1.93% of total regional GDP, while the national average was 1.80%.

Just to demonstrate how affirmative support from the national government can be a gamechanger for tourism: When I was governor of Albay, we increased foreign tourist arrivals from 8,700 in 2006 to 374,000 in 2015. Total tourist arrivals swelled from 123,000 to 1.4 million over the same period.

We credit this partly to how we were proportionately featured in promotional material over the same period by the National Government.

Mayon deserves better than a pixel in the logo where you need strained eyes to see it. Mayon has been a national symbol and a national treasure (one of only three UNESCO-declared biosphere reserves in the country).

Secretary Frasco, ask all your predecessors in the DOT. Mayon deserved better treatment. You failed Albay — but this can be rectified.

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