TACLOBAN CITY — The Department of Tourism (DOT) will meet officials from the local hospitality industry next week to tackle preparations for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis and Visit Philippines Year 2015.
Verna Vargas, DOT regional accreditation officer, said that this is going to be the first meeting with owners of hotels and lodging houses after the Catholic Church officially confirmed the papal visit.
The tourism department also declared 2015 as the “Visit Philippines Year” to coincide with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meetings and Leaders’ Summit.
“The meeting on September 2 will discuss strategies to accommodate thousands of visiting devotees during the January 2015 papal visit. We will check on their plans and see how we can work together,” Vargas said.
As of last month, the city has 32 accommodation establishments with 1,259 rooms.
The massive destruction of super typhoon Yolanda has reduced the number of accommodation facilities from 49 with 1,453 rooms.
For the Visit Philippines Year 2015 campaign, the DOT will ask the business sector to improve services in anticipation of tourist influx next year.
In 2013, the region has welcomed 731,039 tourists- 33,640 foreign and 697,399 domestic.
The region targets 769,998 tourists this year; 827,395 in 2015; and 889,075 in 2016.