MANILA, Philippines – The recent Philippine Ironman 70.3 was a smashing success not only for the country’s triathlon sport but also for local tourism.
Gov. LRay Villafuerte said this year's Ironman competition brought 1,150 triathletes to the province of Camarines Sur.
“Pati ‘yung mga senior citizen sumali,” Villafuerte said in an interview on dzMM’s Dos por Dos.
“May babaeng sumali, 65 [year’s old]. May hapon, 67. Isipin mo yon, nakalangoy sila ng 2 kilometero, nakabisiketa ng 90 kilometro at pampasarap ‘yung 21 kilometers na takbo,” he said.
Camarines Sur has been hosting the Philippine Ironman for years.
Villafuerte said such events are a boon to their local tourism industry.
He said participants usually bring along a host of relatives and supporters, who eventually become tourists.
“Kasi kung 1,150 ang nagparticipate, times 5 ‘yun eh,” he explained. “Usually, kasama ‘yung boyfriend n’ya, asawa nya, kapamilya, trainer, coach.”
The tourists usually spend a 1-week stay in the province for a 1-day event like the Philippine Ironman competition.
“Three days before [the event] nandoon na sila. Nagpapahinga sila 3 days after… ‘yung iba bumibisita sa mga beach. So maganda, malaki ang epekto ang mga ganitong event [sa aming probinsya],” said Villafuerte.
Local tourism is a big boost for Camarines Sur’s economy.
Villafuerte cited figures from the Department of Tourism (DOT) that Camarines Sur has become the country’s No. 1 tourist destination in 2010.
“So magandang balita [ito]. Makikita naman dahil nag-increase ang mga flights namin, dumami ang mga bus. Palagay ko makakatulong po ang pagdagdag ng biyahe ng train,” he said.