LEGAZPI CITY – The Almasor (Albay-Masbate-Sorsogon) Tourism Alliance has welcomed into its fold the island province of Catanduanes, with its old churches, rock-hard mountains and waterfalls, and idyllic beachfronts with waves that are known to surfers as among the “best right hand barrels in the world.”
Catanduanes formerly belonged to another tourism group, the Catanduanes-Camarines Norte-Camarines Sur Link, but opted to leave and join Almasor. Two Camarines Sur town — Buhi and Bato — both with rich tourism potentials and which border with Albay, may also join Almasor soon.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, chairman of the Bicol Regional Development Council, said the South Bicol Tourism Development Area, more popularly known as Almasor, will be provisionally referred to as “ALMASOR +” while awaiting the formal merger documents.
Almasor was recently introduced at the recent ITB-Berlin trade and tourism conference in Germany as an emerging tourism giant in the Philippines with an innovative marketing approach. Albay was highlighted in the same event, so far the only LGU to have been given such global attention.
Salceda, convenor of Almasor, said he met last week with Department of Tourism Undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin and Assistant Secretary Rolando T. Canizal and discussed the inclusion of Catanduanes into the South Bicol TDA.
He said the DOT supports the tourism merger and will adjust its work program accordingly. The new brand name of the South Bicol TDA will be discussed and finalized by the leaders of the four provinces.