World paragliding tilt chosen as Region 12’s tourism banner event

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 February) — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has adopted the first leg of the Paragliding Accuracy World Cup (PGAWC) slated next month in Maasim town in Sarangani as the banner event for Region 12 of its Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015 campaign.

Milo Oropeza, marketing specialist of the DOT’s Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), said the PGAWC is the first-ever event in the region that they included in the VPY 2015 calendar and the promotion and marketing activities they lined up this year.

He said the event is currently among the major activities listed under the campaign’s sports, adventure and ecotourism component.

“We’ve joined the promotion of the paragliding world cup through the campaign website and the social media, and we’re also including it in our upcoming tourism roadshows,” he said in a press conference here.

Around 200 top paragliding pilots and crew from 15 countries are expected to join the first leg of the 2015 PGAWC.

At least 15 paragliding teams have signified to participate in the event, which is slated on March 27 to 29 in the coastal village of Siguel in Maasim town.

Sarangani Province, which hosted the 1st International Paragliding Competition in August last year, bagged the hosting of the event through a bid submitted by the Air Sports Association of the Philippines.

The paragliding site in Maasim town is within the mountain ranch of San Andres Fishing Industry Inc. (SAFI) in Barangay Siguel, which boasts of a grand view of the Sarangani Bay for pilots as they glide down to the landing site about 700 meters below.

Oropeza, who introduced the VPY 2015 campaign during its regional launching at the SM Mall here on Thursday afternoon, said they expect that more major events in the region would be added soon in the campaign calendar.

He urged local government units (LGUs) and other tourism stakeholders to enlist or register their upcoming events into the campaign through its website

Events that may be included in the VPY 2015 calendar are music, arts and entertainment shows; lifestyle, sports, adventure and ecotourism activities; and, business, historical and cultural showcases.

Oropeza said events that would be registered by proponents will undergo an internal vetting process before they will be officially included in the campaign calendar.

He said an event may be accepted or included in the VPY 2015 calendar if it passes a set of criteria, which includes the projection of positive image to the country and local residents, should encourage the participation of foreign attendees and should highlight the country as a viable tourism destination.

The official said the inclusion of any local event to the campaign would bring tremendous benefits as they would be aggressively promoted by the agency both locally and abroad.

Nelly Nita Dillera, DOT Region 12 director, said they are currently coordinating with LGUs and local tourism stakeholders for the inclusion of other major events in the area into the VPY 2015 campaign.

She said they are also evaluating several regular and new events in the region that can be added into the campaign calendar.

“There are a lot of activities here in Region 12 that can be included in VPY 2015. We have festivals and cultural events here that have huge potentials of drawing foreign tourists,” she said.

She said these include Sarangani Province’s Sarangani Bay Festival in May, South Cotabato’s T’nalak Festival in July and this city’s Tuna Festival in September.

VPY 2015 is a year-long, events-driven campaign that aims to highlight tourism events and activities nationwide that are ready for local and international exposure.

The initiative, which seeks to “refresh” the banner “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign, focuses on the promotion of a year-round calendar of events that would compel foreign and domestic tourists to visit and go around the Philippines and actively participate in the lined up activities.

The DOT earlier adopted the VPY 2015 campaign as a tactical strategy to help realize its bid to attract 10 million foreign tourists by 2016. (MindaNews)