LEGAZPI CITY – The newly organized Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon Tourism Alliance (ALMASORTA) has embarked on a more integrated and comprehensive promotion strategy to market the potentials of the three Bicol province, and eyes some 650,000 foreign tourist arrivals in their area annually within five years
The ALMASOR TA complements another Bicol regional tourism cluster already in place — the CCCTL or the Catanduanes-Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte Tourism Link.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda has spearheaded the organization of the ALMASOR TA only recently and signed an agreement of group cooperation with Masbate Gov. Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee. The alliance is a pioneering concept in tourism promotion strategy.
Salceda, who chairs the Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) said the alliance was initiated to ensure a stronger and more cohesive tourism campaign among the three provinces, which all have their inherent world class tourism potentials that needed better market positioning and promotion.
“I have initiated this strategic approach to accelerate tourism development and enhance the attractiveness of Bicol as a tourist destination,” said Salceda who is also president of the organization of all RDC chairs in the country.
He said the cluster needs the completion of several priority projects for its external market access including the P 3.6 billion Southern Luzon International Airport in Daraga, Albay to be finished in 2014; the Modernization of the South Railways under the DOTC with the South Central Station in Comun, Camalig, Albay and spur lines to Legazpi City and to Matnog, Sorsogon; the proposed four-lane Naga-Legazpi freeway system, which will link CCTL with ALMASOR, the proposed P250 million Mayon International Convention Center; and, the P278 million Albay Sports Center in time for Albay’s hosting of the 2015 Palarong Pambansa.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. has recently approved a P1.4-billion tourism support infrastructure package for Albay — the P440-million Cagraray Circumferential Road in Bacacay town, and the P870-million road that directly links Libon, Albay with Donsol, Sorsogon, home to the world famous Butanding or sperm whale.