Thursday, November 26, 2015

PATA forum overshoots target participants
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 26 (PNA) -- The number of participants in the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) forum being currently held at The Oriental Hotel here is impressive and above expectation as it overshot the target registrants.

Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda attributed this positive development to the unity, kindness, expressed hospitality, professionalism and expertise of frontliners and back office staff of the Provincial Government of Albay and its people.

Salceda gave this positive and inspiring assessment on Thursday morning as the prestigious event continues.

"Albay never stops to amaze," he said.

Based on the registry record, a total of 561 guests and participants from 20 countries are here in Albay to experience the culture, nature and adventure of a lesser-known but most attractive destination in the Philippines.

As of press time, a Technical Tour and Tourism Marketing Treasure Hunt is being done by 150 guests who registered online on a "first come, first served" basis.

For this one day field session, delegates are challenged to explore and discover the hidden gems of a location, while immersing with the unique culture, geography and people of the province.

They will taste their food, admire landscapes and savor their history while leveraging digital tools to identify, collect and promote new-found treasures, Albay Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Officer Dorothy F. Colle said.

Delegates will be taken along an action-packed journey, Colle added.

In Lignon Hill -- a place for hiking, climbing, zipline, rappelling, hanging bridge walking, Japanese tunneling and lava watching -- the delegates will be treated to a 360-degree panoramic view of the Mayon Volcano and excellent view of the city, especially at night.

Visitors are encouraged to walk from the foot to the top of the hill but are advised to wear comfortable shoes.

Legazpi Boulevard is a long stretch of road that interlinks five barangays of Albay, Colle said.

It offers very good views of the Mayon Volcano and the Kapuntukan Hill.

The Mayon ATV Adventure and Mayon Lava Watching are a one-of-kind adventure that includes a 9-km, 45-minute ride going to the lava field below Mayon Volcano from the foot of the Lignon Hill.

Cagsawa Ruins is where remnants of an 18th century Franciscan church, whose tower remains a memorial structure for the 2,000 buried former inhabitants and reminder of the resilience of the Albayanos to the challenges that nature brings.

After the Cagsawa Church was destroyed by Mayon's eruption in 1814, the Daraga Church became the main parish church of Cagsawa.

The original fa├žade and bell tower still remains today.

The design of the Daraga Church is described as a blend of Renaissance Gothic and Mexican Baroque architectural styles.

It was declared a National Culture Treasure in 2007.

A Barrio Fiesta-themed dinner hosted by Provincial Government of Albay will be held at the Albay Astrodome for the delegates.

On Nov. 27, the conference proper will be divided into different sessions that will focus on Eco-tourism and Climate Change.

The forum will be formally welcomed by Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez.

The keynote speaker is Loraine Gatlabayan who will focus on Climate Change Mitigation and its Role on Tourism.

Tourism can be both a victim and contributor to climate change and the keynote speaker will explore the complexities of this issue and suggest actions that can be taken to mitigate the potential negative impact of tourism activities.

Session 1 is about Marine Tourism and Implications for Water-Resilient Operations and Session 2, Global Adventure Trends. ASEAN for adventure, where horizons are endless and breakout sessions typically comprise of presentation in questions and answer style, featuring speakers from prominent organizations who are leaders in their respective fields.

PATA is one of the biggest and premier organizations of travel and tourism players in the Asia-Pacific Region and has been a leading authority on the industry for 60 years.

The association is also a partner of the United Nations World Toursim Organization (UNWTO). (PNA) CTB/FGS/CBD/EDS