LEGAZPI CITY—Albay and Fuefuki City in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan will sign a sisterhood accord for their respective world famous conical-shaped active volcanoes—Mt. Mayon and Mt. Fuji.
The agreement is considered as a major marketing tourism coup in the global travel industry.
The accord, among others, calls for a packaged marketing drive for the two iconic volcanoes in their domestic markets which can be particularly beneficial for the Philippines considering the potential of the Japanese market.
Aside from tourism, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the sisterhood scheme also explores partnership in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for which Albay has been a global model, as well as on education, agriculture, trade and investments.
Overseas, the two tourism magnets will similarly be marketed as packaged destinations.
Salceda said the Mayon-Fuji sisterhood brings about a “Fire and Ice” partnership that amounts to a “major marketing coup for the Philippines and the Department of Tourism, and there is no doubt Albay and the whole Bicol region will gain major boosts from this tourism alliance.”
“Fire” refers to the iconic image of the 8,000 feet high Mayon with its crater at the apex of its near-perfect cone-shaped frame, spewing fire, while “ice” pertains to the 12,000 feet tall Mt. Fuji in Fuefuki City, Yamanishi Prefecture in Japan that is snow-capped nearly all year round. The two stunningly beautiful mountains are active volcanoes global tourists visit in droves.
The two active volcanoes are surrounded by national parks and are magnets for tourists and mountaineers. Fuji is a Unesco Heritage Site, while Mt. Mayon is tentatively listed as such.
An eight-member Albay delegation and officials of Fuefuki and Yamanashi, met March 7 at Hotel Hata in Fuefuki City and worked out the final draft of the pact. The Albay delegation included Department of Tourism (DOT) Region V Director Maria O. Ravanilla, Tourism Attache and Representative to East Japan Gwendolyn Batoon, Albay Provincial Tourism Officer Dorothy Colle, and four members of the Provincial Board.
Salceda initially proposed the partnership last year in a letter to Yamanashi Gov. Shomei Yokouchi, noting the significant resemblance between the two volcanos which are favorites of tourists worldwide. He suggested the possibility of “partnership and collaboration, pooling of resources and expertise” between their local governments for tourism and other endeavors. His proposal immediately drew a favorable and enthusiastic response from Gov. Yokouchi. Following the visit of a Yamanashi delegation in October last year, the recent Fuefuki City conference was held to finalize the agreement.
DOT has declared Albay as the country’s fastest growing tourist destination having posted a sustained tourism growth of 47 percent in 2012; 66 percent in 2013 and 52 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and a soaring increase in foreign tourist arrivals from 8,700 in 2006 to 339,000 in 2014. Some 376,000 foreign tourists visited Albay last year. The province’s tourism has won international recognitions, among them, as winner of the 2015 CEO Challenge of Pacific Area Tourism Association.