The International Travel Festival 2023 (ITF 2023) held in Cebu City on March 24 to 26 has opened more opportunities to boost tourist arrivals in the Caraga Region from Cebu through the Sayak Airport in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, an official said.
“The three-day event was a platform for us to strengthen our domestic arrivals through the Cebu route flying direct to Sayak Airport in Siargao Island,” Department of Tourism Caraga (DOT-13) Director Ivonnie Dumadag in an interview on Tuesday.
The ITF 2023, Dumadag said, also showcased the lesser-known destinations in Caraga and its local products.
The Philippine Airlines currently has two regular flights daily from Cebu to Siargao while Cebu Pacific maintains three flights daily.
“Our full participation in the ITF 2023 is also a support to the program of DOT Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco to further boost tourism arrivals and promote the lesser known destinations in the different regions,” Dumadag said.
Siargao Island, she added, is the place that most tourists and visitors who visited the ITF 2023 can immediately relate to.
“Our strategy now is to connect the popular destinations and activities of Siargao island to the mainland Surigao del Norte, nearby Dinagat Island, and Surigao del Sur through the creation of circuits for specific activities such as surfing, dragon boat, and diving,” Dumadag said.
Surfers from Siargao Island, including Noah Arkfeld, Reden Espejon, and Gabriel Lerog, were part of the DOT-13 team during the ITF 2023 that provided tourists and visitors with basic surfing lessons.
Part of the Caraga exhibits during the event include the handmade beadworks and accessories crafted by the Indigenous People communities in Surigao del Sur and the Agsam accessories from Lanuza town.
Woven abaca mats and products from the Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, and local products from the towns of Jabonga, Agusan del Norte, Province of Dinagat Islands, Bislig City were also displayed during the ITF 2023. (PNA)