Silay banks on old world charm
Tourism is a vital industry to spur growth in the provinces.
The influx of tourists creates a ripple effect within the community as more livelihood opportunities become available to residents. This is why some cities choose to harness the potential of tourism to bring more life into their cities.
Silay City in Negros Occidental continues to ride the waves of establishing a more concrete approach to boost tourism in their hometown.
Gerle Sulmaca, tourism officer of the City of Silay, believes that despite the measly budget allocation for tourism, the city continues to enjoy a number of visitors.
“This year our tourist arrivals totaled 109,105, with 108,912 domestic visitors and 193 foreign travelers,” she said.
Sumalca also expects an increase in the number of tourists arrivals from both local and foreign cities to visit Silay City by end of 2017.
“Our local attractions are really engaging and we are looking at the possibility of our accommodation establishments becoming attractions too, considering that heritage house owners are converting their houses for bed and breakfast,” Sumalca explained.
“This adaptive re-use of our heritage buildings to cafés and bars, accommodations and other business ventures is one appeal that any visitor would not miss,” she further noted.
Old world charm
Silay City has an old-world charm attached to its name.
The city abounds with heritage buildings which speak volumes of its history back when the whole Negros Island enjoyed a period of opulence due to the thriving sugar industry in the early part of the century.
Now, it is a modern city with its own international airport located just a few minutes away from the city center.
Although Silay has coped with the fast-changing times, it still continues to offer a more relaxed atmosphere as compared with its next door neighbor Bacolod City.
Complete with facilities and amenities, Silay City has a lot of potential to be an alternate investment hub in Negros Island. With the city offering diverse opportunities from its scenic spots, mouth-watering delicacies, to colorful festivals and a handful of natural wonders.
As part of its commitment to grow investments in tourism, Silay City has implemented the Tourism Code, which took effect in 2016.
“[This code aims] to guide us in all our tourism related endeavors. We also have a Heritage Code for the protection, preservation and conservation of all our historical and cultural heritage and resources,” she said.
She added that first-hand accounts of those who have seen Silay up close and personal could help other tourists consider including their city in their “must-see places in the Philippines.”
Social media has also been of great help to spread the word that Silay City is open for business and that it has more to offer for the ones seeking a taste of history in the island of Negros.
“We are optimistic that we can achieve this [tourism goal]. We believe that partnerships with the private sector in all areas—marketing and promotion, infrastructure development, capacity building, among others—could bring a major change in our status,” she said.
As a testament to the evolving status of Silay City, national developers such as Sta. Lucia Land has taken notice of the city’s huge potentials.
The tourism sector of Silay. according to Sumalca, looks forward to working hand-in-hand with Sta. Lucia Land to help them boost their destination status not only in the Philippines but in the world as well.
“We look forward to the opportunity of creating more jobs for the community and more business opportunities for everyone,” Sumalca added.
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