THE Department of Tourism (DoT) said Siargao in Surigao del Norte is considered a priority area for tourism development.

“Siargao is a priority. In the next few years, your island will continue to flourish in partnership with the National Government,” Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco said during her keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 26th Siargao International Surfing Cup on Oct. 15.

Siargao has received 14,404 visitors in the first half, according to a tally maintained by the provincial tourism office.

Of the arrivals, 12,870 were domestic tourists while 1,534 were foreign guests.

Ms. Frasco said the government is aiming to help Siargao recover with infrastructure projects and granting the island gateway status for direct flights.

“The National Government is here to help Siargao recover, is here to help Siargao rise to the primary position that it deserves in the world,” Ms. Frasco said.

Siargao was hit by Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) in December.

The Surigao del Norte government has estimated the typhoon damage at P20 billion.  

Meanwhile, the DoT said that the side activities of the 26th Siargao International Surfing Cup to be held until Oct. 21 include surfing masterclasses,  communal yoga, salsa, arts and cultural show, a bazaar, a beach bonfire, concerts, and a beach clean-up. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave