Legazpi City wants to become int'l sports tourism center

By Emmanuel Solis

LEGAZPI CITY -- After the successful XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon race held Sunday in this city, Mayor Noel Rosal expressed optimism that this City will become an international sports tourism center.

Rosal, in an interview on Tuesday, said he would make a necessary move to push Legazpi as an international sports tourism center, considering that different sports organizers have conducted their sporting events in this city that included the Mount Mayon Triathlon as well as the national beach volleyball, the dragon boat race, some PBA games and Le tour de Filipinas.

The city chief executive disclosed that some of the XTERRA athletes said “racing under the shadow of Mayon Volcano was very special and memorable” for them and they were also satisfied with the perfect ambiance of the city boulevard and the fresh air coming from the shore of Albay Gulf.

Rosal said the athletes have described Legazpi as stunning place, exciting with a variety of culture and they called this city as the ‘Hot and Spicy’ destination because of the spicy Bicol Express, Pinangat and Chili Ice Cream.

The XTERRA was presented by the city government of Legazpi supported by the provincial government of Albay as well as the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotion board of the Philippines.

Rosal pointed out that all the sporting events conducted in this city were the luminous symbol that Legazpi was one of the most safe and exciting places for sporting events and very qualified to become an international sports tourism center.

He noted that Legazpi will host an Asean Cup this coming Ibalong Festival in August, which will be participated by different athletes from Asia.

The city government is also eyeing for possible IRONMAN race next year.

"Organizers of IRONMAN have made already an initial meeting to hold this very exciting event here in Legazpi wherein around 1,000 foreign and local athletes are expected to join in the race," Rosal said.

He said his administration is always promoting sports tourism as one way of improving the number of tourist arrivals that will surely contribute to the economic growth of Legazpi. (PNA)