The city government here is optimistic about attracting more investors and boosting local tourism amid record-high local revenues and tourist arrivals since the start of the year.
In his State of the City Address Wednesday night, Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said reforms and innovations are gaining the interest of investors to locate their business or expand their existing operations in the city.
“We are making it easy – and more profitable – to do business in Bacolod,” he added.
Records of the City Treasurer’s Office indicate that in the first quarter of 2023 alone, local revenues hit PHP1.08 billion, higher by 24 percent compared to tax collection for the same period last year.
“If we compare this to the pre-2021 pandemic collection, our first quarter collection has already exceeded the collection for the entire 2019,” the mayor said.
The Business Permit and Licensing Office and Management Information Technology and Computer Services Office also reported a marked increase in the gross reported sales of registered businesses in Bacolod.
This shows an increase of 35.31 percent from pre-pandemic figures of PHP87.78 billion from July 2018 to June 2019 to post-pandemic gross sales of PHP118.78 billion from July 2022 to June 2023.
Business renewals also increased by 6.41 percent and business expansion grew by 57.38 percent during the same period.
Benitez said the city’s MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) sector has also recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Already, we are hosting two to three conventions per month since April this year,” he added.
For the first quarter of 2023, local tourist arrivals have reached 177,298, exceeding the pre-pandemic figure of 171,674 for the same period in 2019.
“We are positioning Bacolod as a top MICE destination. I signed Executive Order 56 to convene the Bacolod Meetings and Conventions Board to market our city as location for conferences and events, and ensure the grant of incentives and assistance to organizers,” the mayor said.
Benitez said the city’s Masskara Festival in 2022 showed the world that Bacolod has indeed bounced back from the global health crisis.
“The success of Masskara Festival 2022 has been unprecedented. We won in the Aliw Awards as Best Festival. Our champion dancers from Barangay Granada performed at the Philippine Independence Day parade in New York while the runner-up from Barangay Sum-ag, at the Busan International Dance Festival in South Korea,” he said.
The Chicken Inasal Festival held last May 26 to 28 generated PHP2 million in sales from at least 10,000 people who visited the festival sites. (PNA)