by A. Lumaque, PIA
Roxas City (24 February) -- The 2nd One Visayas One People One Destiny celebration from March 11 to 14 here will strengthen the network of practicing Visayan artists.
Provincial Tourism Officer and One Visayas Director Alphonsus Tesoro said that the festival will gather more than a thousand artists who are practitioners of the various fields of the arts like music, dance, theater, visual arts, literature, film, fashion design and architecture, among others.
"The number does not include festival performers," Tesoro noted.
A welcome reception for artists at the Capiz Gymnasium in Villareal Stadium here will be tendered by the Capiz provincial government on March 11.
The activity dubbed "Hugpong Visayas" will also welcome local government officials, mediamen and other special guests from the various participating provinces of Eastern, Central and Western Visayas regions.
Tesoro added that the upcoming celebration with the theme "Heroes and Nationalism" is also aimed to create public awareness on the rich Visayan cultural heritage.
The big tourism event's activities will include a parade of festivals, concert at the park, food festival, film showing, cooking demonstrations, cultural summit, and series of workshops, cultural and outreach performances, among others.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is expected to grace the opening rites at the Villareal Stadium.
One Visayas was conceptualized by the Regional Development Council (RDC) officials of the three Visayan regions in 2008 to showcase the arts and cultures of Regions 6, 7 and 8.
It is also in support to the President Arroyo's tourism super region development plan for Central Philippines that intends to focus development and investments on tourism related projects.
Currently accounting for 50 percent of the country's tourism industry, Central Philippines is envisioned by the national government as a tourist destination offering direct international access, seamless interconnectivity, world-class tourism facilities, and products that meet the demands of today's tourists.
These will be achieved through sustainable products development, environment protection and enhancement, adequate infrastructure, capacity building, investments promotion and marketing, and improved business environment.
In the first nine months of 2009, the number of foreign tourists reached 5.2 million or 17 percent higher than the same period in 2008.
Tourism is expected to generate $17 billion this year or 13.6 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).
The development of the Central Philippines as a tourist destination hinges on the potentials of the fast growing global tourism market, which is said to equal or even surpass that of oil exports, food products, or automobiles.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimated that travel and tourism contributed 9.4 percent to global GDP, 7.6 percent to worldwide employment, and 10.9 percent to global exports in 2009. The United Nations also noted that tourism "produced economic and employment benefits in many related sectors from construction to agriculture and telecommunications."