Bohol is first in the country to declare 2017 as United Nations World Tourism Organization (UN-WTO) International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Gov. Edgar Chatto pledged commitment and symbolically sliced an ube open to officially launch in Bohol 2017 as the UN-WTO International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development during the Opening Program of the 17th Ube Festival on Friday, January 20.
The declaration highlights as key Economic, Environment, and Socio cultural aspects of tourism.
Gov. Chatto said agriculture and tourism remain major development pillars for Bohol and the Ube Festival features both agriculture and tourism that is not only distinctive of Bohol but also contributing to economic growth of the province.
Guest speaker Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 7 Director Catalino Chan III, who came on behalf of DOT Sec. Wanda Teo, committed to include the Ube Festival as one of major events in the national tourism calendar.
According to Chan, Bohol is the limelight of the Philippine tourism industry, citing recorded 4.3 million tourists in January for the entire Central Visayas.
The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 was officially launched last January 19 at the International Tourism Fair of Spain, FITUR.
Chan also joined Chatto and the rest of provincial and municipal officials as well as agriculture and tourism stakeholders at the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the exhibit at Plaza Rizal.
Apo Hiking Society member Jim Paredes, joined by Chuckie Dreyfus also graced the ribbon cutting rites. They were with a host of bloggers sponsored by Air Asia to experience the Ube Festival as one of stops in their tourism package. This was part of year-round tourism promotions activities planned by the Provincial Tourism Council.
Twenty one booths are displaying varieties of the revered ube at the fair that will run until tomorrow, Monday, January 23, 2017.
The Ube festival kicked off with a motorcade followed by the opening program and exhibit opening simultaneous with Pinaka contests: Pinaka (best quality harvest, best booth and ube exhibit, ube postermaking contest.
The annual festival also featured an ube cook off as well as a literary musical contest that included ube balak, ube kuradang, ube rap and jungle, and bugno sa rondalya.
An investment forum, ube technology updates, agri-tourism forum, and saemul undong lectures were also held.
The festival will close Monday with awarding of winners of the Ube Festival and a recognition of Gulayan sa Paaralan winners for 2016.