International airport sees 2014 completion
By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY — The Aquino administration is expediting the construction of P3.5B Bicol International Airport in Albay to respond to the increasing influx of foreign and domestic tourists to Bicol, making it one of the fastest growing regions in the country, Secretary Ramon Jimenez of the Department of Tourism said.
“You need 24-7 airport to cater to the big influx of both foreign and domestic tourists. That’s why President Aquino is prioritizing the immediate completion of Bicol International Airport in 2014,” Jimenez said.
“So two years from now, we’re expecting that this airport will be finished and operational sooner than the people expected. Bicol will be having an all weather airport now,” the DOT chief said.
Jimenez said that in Albay alone the increase of tourist arrivals came with a 17 percent growth rate as against the National Capital Region’s 11 percent increase in 2011. “Albay province is a very competitive destination in the country with your unique culture, warm people and the majestic Mayon Volcano which is an incomparable icon in the world,” Jimenez told the Bicol Mail.
Based on the data of DOT Bicol regional office the top visiting foreign tourists in Albay last year were Americans, followed by Japanese, Koreans, Canadians and Australians.
In 2011, tourist arrivals in the country was posted at 3.9 million which according to Jimenez will reach 4.6 million in 2012.
With the completion of the Bicol International Airport in 2014, Legazpi City and Albay will serve as an economic hub and gateway that will serve some 7.1 million travelers, including those coming from Samar island.
Salceda as chairman of the Regional Development Council recently launched the ALSORMAS, a triumvirate tourism alliance among the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate.
Earlier, Salceda also unveiled the Guinobatan-Camalig-Daraga-Legazpi (Guicadale) platform project as a major priority development intervention in Albay. The project is designed to encourage economic activities safe from the threats posed by Mayon Volcano eruptions, lahar flows, flooding and tsunamis.
It features a circumferential road and new arterial roads connecting the proposed Bicol International Airport to the urban areas to be anchored by a Metro Albay that will principally be comprised by the town of Daraga and this city.