‘We are winning the war vs tourism setbacks’ — CLL PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 27 January 2012 14:23

Mayor Celso Lobregat on Wednesday took pride in his State of the City Report that Zamboanga City was winning the war against the numerous setbacks, misperceptions, sometimes fair and unwarranted negative publicity that beset the city in 2011.

“At times we have been forced to take a step backward… I believe we are winning the war as tourist arrivals and conventions held in the city have substantially increased,” Lobregat said, citing that in 2011 the city registered 368,245 tourist arrivals, posting a 5.3% increase from 2010 figures.

He also said a total of 200 regional and national conventions were held in the city last year, registering a 31.5% increase compared to the previous year.
This, despite the explosion incidents at San Roque cockpit and Red Palm Pension House in Guiwan on Oct. 9, 2011, and another explosion in Sangali on Oct. 26 of same year, all these occurred at a time when the city was in the thick of the grand Hermosa festivities.

“The explosions have proven how strong we are as a community and how determined we are in not giving the perpetrators a moral victory by not showing fear and panic,” the mayor said in his 1 hour and 26 minutes speech during the City Council’s maiden session at the Convention Center of Garden Orchid Hotel.

He quoted Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr., who visited the city for the first time on Oct. 11, barely two days after the twin explosions, when the latter said: “The incident was very unfortunate, but it was nothing to 800,000 Zamboangueños celebrating their history. There were only two blasts. There are 800,000 explosions of talents and goodwill in your city.”

In a bid to further strengthen the city’s tourism potentials, Lobregat said his administration has embarked on numerous initiatives to bring about the good, the positive, the best and the beautiful of Zamboanga.

Among these initiatives were the expansion and beautification of R.T. Lim Boulevard, installation of the multi-colored laminar shooting jets fountain at Jardin Maria Clara in Pasonanca, the rehabilitation and installation of multi-patterned fountain at Plaza Pershing, and very soon the opening of the musically gyrating fountain at Paseo del Mar.

In addition, he said Paseo del Mar is currently undergoing further improvements with the construction of the multi-purpose exhibit building, expansion of parking area, and the soon-to-be constructed natural aquarium.

Meanwhile, Lobregat clarified that the viewing of the soon-to-be opened musically gyrating fountain at Paseo del Mar will be for free even as he said that seven meters away from the fountain there will be a peripheral wall with a height of approximately 1.2 meters to prevent overcrowding and to serve as a protection to the fountain.

“The wall will in no way impede and obstruct viewing of the fountain. Attached to the wall will be two levels of seating space. For those who want to gain access and view the fountain from inside, a reasonable fee shall be proposed but mind you, you can view the fountain even from afar,” he explained. — Vic Larato