Siargao on the rise anew

GEN. LUNA, Siargao Island — The tourism industry in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte is now setting its sights for a comeback after it was crippled down by the lockdowns due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic two years ago.

Siargao’s tourism campaign was kick-started by holding a major sports tourism event in the town of Dapa, led by Mayor Elizabeth Matugas and eagerly supported by the office of Surigao del Norte First District Representative Francisco Jose Matugas II.

The 1st Dapa Siargao National Dragon Boat Regatta 2022 conducted from 9 to 10 July was considered a success as it gathered 21 dragon boat teams from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

By August, the 1st Mayor Sol’s National Surfing Competition was conceptualized and formally opened last 28 September and will run until 1 October which is spearheaded by the local government unit of Gen. Luna through Mayor Sol Matugas with the support of the first district congressional office, the private sector and business community.

To recall, the Department of Tourism in the Caraga Region said that Siargao’s tourist arrivals significantly dropped to 67,717 in 2020 from 257,900 in 2019 and further shrunk to 28,287 in 2021 with only 734 foreign visits registered on the island.

In the midst of the pandemic came the catastrophe brought by super typhoon “Odette” in December last year.

The typhoon, based on the Surigao del Norte situational report in January this year, had left P1.6 billion in damages in the nine municipalities in the island.

The biggest damage was registered in Gen. Luna town, considered the center of tourism activity in the island where the yearly national and international surfing competitions are held.

Department of Tourism Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano said sports tourism, particularly surfing, has turned Siargao Island into top destination in the country.

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