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Iloilo sees growing trend in local tourism during Holy Week

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Iloilo airport
The Iloilo International Airport caters to an average of 60 daily inbound and outbound flights. -- BW/ERSSANTIAGUDO

THE ILOILO Provincial Tourism Office is conducting a seasonal survey this week, the results of which will serve as a guide for planning promotional campaigns and tourism programs that will cater to the growing number of local tourists during the Lenten holidays. Provincial Tourism Officer Gilbert G. Marin said they have been seeing more groups of families and friends spending the Holy Week outside their homes in recent years. He cited that last year, they recorded 44,337 same day visitors and 10,567 longer staying guests during the Lenten vacation. “Actually, it’s a good opportunity for us to promote our local destination especially since the families go out during the Lenten season,” he said. The most popular destinations are the beaches and inland resorts. “The visitors are expected to flock especially in the beaches in Islas de Gigantes in Carles, Ajuy, and the neighboring province of Guimaras. Their second destinations are inland resorts such as Ephratah Farm in Badiangan, Damires Hills in Janiuay, and the famous Lenten destination, Garin Farm Pilgrimage Resort in San Joaquin,” Mr. Marin said. Meanwhile, the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan has also started implementing measures to handle the expected increase in travelers this week. “We are really expecting an influx of passengers. We are expecting an increase in our flights. In fact, I have received in my office the plan of one airline operator to add flights for Manila to Iloilo. Another airline said they will also have additional flights for Semana Santa,” said Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Iloilo Terminal Supervisor Arthur M. Parreño. Among the measures are setting up a help desk and a 24/7 medical emergency response, and tighter security measures. The Iloilo airport caters to about 4,000 departing passengers daily, according to Mr. Parreño, with an average of 30 incoming and 30 departing flights. — Emme Rose Santiagudo