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18 hotels emerge for visitors in Tacloban.

Byline: Joey Gabieta

TACLOBAN CITY -- The most destructive typhoon to hit this city is turning out to be a boon, at least for the local hotel industry.

Gerald Ligan, city tourism officer, said Supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), which devastated Eastern Visayas in November 2013, gave Tacloban the attention it needed to make the city into a destination for local and foreign tourists.

With its growing popularity, at least 18 new hotels have started operating in the city to accommodate visitors.

Yolanda gave us the needed exposure. Though it was a very bad exposure, it was still an exposure nevertheless, Ligan said.

He said the visits of high-profile and international personalities for post-typhoon humanitarian missions gave Tacloban international prominence.

Among those who visited Tacloban were British football superstar David Beckham, Canadian singer Justin Bieber, United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon, King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf, Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand, and groups from Latvia and Russia.

Foreign tourists come to Tacloban to see for themselves what really happened here after the typhoon hit on Nov. 8, 2013, Ligan said.

Records showed some 475,000 tourists went to Tacloban in 2015, of whom 25,636 were foreign guests mostly coming from Europe, South Korea, China and the United States.

The frequency of visits encouraged investments for additional hotels, Ligan said.

The city now has 68 hotels and lodging houses from only 50 before the disaster struck, he said. Five more hotels are being built and would open soon.

Some 5,000 people are employed by the local hotel industry, Ligan said.

Wanting to take advantage of the tourism boom, Jenny Lund Chu, a resident, has converted her family's house on Real Street into what is now known as Ambassador Hotel. So far, business is good, she said.

Chu's family earlier allowed 41 families to take temporary shelter in their house after the storm surge that Yolanda whipped up left hundreds of families in the city homeless.

The 13-room Ambassador Hotel started operation in October.

Chu said foreign guests would often ask locals about how Yolanda wreaked havoc on their city before they visit areas where typhoon landmarks are now built.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Feb 16, 2016
Words:358
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