Metro Naga forms tourism consortium

Bicol Mail

NAGA CITY — Anticipating the increase in tourism arrivals with the soon-to-be launched Naga Excursions (Naga X) brand and products, the Metro Naga Development Council (MNDC), chaired by Naga City Mayor John G. Bongat, held the formal “signing-in” of more than 50 private tourism establishments at a hotel here last March 8, this year.

With funding support from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) thru the Local Government Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the MNDC has identified and continues to develop tourism circuits anchored on the alliance members’ existing tourism attractions.

The tourism consortium, the first of its kind in the country initiated by a local government unit, aims to ensure quality standards across various primary and secondary tourism enterprises. According to the RA 9593, The Tourism Act of 2009, and the Department of Tourism (DOT), primary tourism enterprises cover accommodation, tour operators, tourist transport providers, adventure parks, and eco-tourism facilities. Meanwhile, secondary tourism enterprises refer to restaurants, bars, coffee shops, museums, galleries, spas, and souvenir shops, to name a few.

An initial “on-boarding” activity was conducted earlier this year in January to assess the potential for the consortium. Would-be members submitted commitment forms containing their offered discounted or commissionable rates to the Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (ACTO) of the City Government, signifying their interest in the consortium. Under the consortium agreement, member establishments are entitled to the special rates submitted by fellow consortium members.

The MNDC and the newly-created Metro Naga Association of Travel and Tour Operators (MENATTO) also developed several key tourism products highlighting existing destinations in Metro Naga. Among the products are:

•    3 days, 2 nights Naga Excursion package (Mt. Isarog Natural park and urban tourism) – Haciendas de Naga, Panicuason Hot Springs Resort and Malabsay Falls, city heritage tour

•    2 days, 1 night Pilgrimage Excursion – Marian churches in Naga and historical churches in member municipalities of Metro Naga

•    Whole day or half-day City Heritage Excursion – city tour of Naga and its rich culture and diversity

•    3 days, 2 nights Caramoan Excursion – two days island-hopping in Caramoan with one day heritage tour in Naga

Visitors to Metro Naga can also expect additional products and destinations in the future like the Bicol River Cruise, Doncilla Island bird-watching, and Metro Naga heritage tours, to name a few.

Organizers clarify that the consortium is a marketing consortium and will not limit in any way how business owners operate their tourism enterprises. According to Alec Santos, Chief-of-Office of ACTO, a major objective of the consortium is to ensure that Metro Naga becomes a premiere destination for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibits (MICE).

“The collaborative effort of consortium members will hopefully translate into more events held in Metro Naga, which means more bookings for hotels, more covers for restaurants, and more persons-on-tours for tour operators. This will also mean that the odds will be in Metro Naga’s favor because we have the assurance of quality facilities and services from our consortium members, making us more competitive when it comes to MICE,” says Santos.

Aside from the special rates and the standards of quality, consortium members are also expected to participate in future marketing efforts of Metro Naga, including travel shows and advertising campaigns, in a bid to boost the promotion of Naga X products.