By Minerva Newman
DUMAGUETE CITY –This city is being groomed to become the country’s next sports tourism hub.
Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo revealed the vision for the city, which has been chosen to host the 2020 ASEAN Games.
Remollo said the competition among secondary school athletes involve 11 countries that would possibly include delegations from New Zealand or Australia.
“In preparation for the ASEAN 2020 games, the city has been hosting various sporting events. It has attracted athletes and tourists due to the presence of quality facilities, affordable cost of living, conducive environment, strategic location and enthusiastic hometown crowd,” Remollo added.
Dumaguete was named Sports Tourism Organizer of the Year for successfully hosting major national, international and local sports events.
The events are the National University Games for three consecutive years; Dumaguete Dragon Boat Race; Little League (Baseball, softball) Philippine and Visayas region series; International Handball Tournament; Children’s Games, Batang Pinoy (Visayas Leg) regional Meet; Dumaguete Triathlon; Regional and Beach Volleyball Republic.
Remollo sports tourism would be great for the local economy. “All these people need to eat, need places to stay, they’ll probably grab souvenirs, too which means more income for hotels, restaurants, sports facilities, and gift-shops alike,” he said.
Last April 26 and 27 the Beach Volleyball Republic (BVR): On Tour returned to Dumaguete for its summer leg, Remollo said .
According to Lok Shun from the Hong Kong team, “We really loved the sunshine, sea breeze and the island-feel of Dumaguete. It’s very refreshing, different from what we’re used to back home, and it makes playing more fun.”
“I’ve been to a lot of legs of BVR and so far, this has been the most organized. Good accommodations and good food too,” Nichol Jundana from the Aklan team said.
Her only complaint would have to be the smell on the beach courts as it can be a little distracting.
Remollo admits that there is still much to be done. But with a new sports tourism complex and the experience from hosting international, national and regional events that attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and generated hundreds of millions in revenues benefiting the local economy, Dumaguete is now considered as an emerging sports tourism hub.
“I also did this in Clark and it made miracles for the city in terms of attracting investors and visitors. In Dumaguete, events have proven us right when we won the LGU best sports tourism organizer award. That’s why we built these facilities to further usher in this new era for Dumaguete,” Remollo said.
Remollo added that after launching sports tourism in Clark in 2011, five years later, it became the sports destination of the country.
Now he wants to do the same for his hometown.