Volcano Hots Up Economy of Philippine's Poor Province

Volcano Hots Up Economy of Philippine's Poor ProvinceVolcano Hots Up Economy of Philippine's Poor Province

The erupting Mayon volcano is sparking a local business boom in an impoverished region of the Philippines where tens of thousands of others have fled for their lives. Albay Province has built its image around the cone-shaped Mayon volcano whose periodic activity offers both boundless opportunity as well as enduring misery. Since Mayon began shooting out lava two weeks ago, restaurants and hotels just outside a nine-kilometer "danger zone" have enjoyed an off-season tourism bonanza, AFP reported.  The volcano's rumblings are a spark of inspiration for tourism-oriented businesses, which have fashioned spicy menus while prominently displaying volcano photos and logos. A bestseller at a local restaurant is the "Mayon Hot Lava"—Mayon-shaped ice cream scoops topped with bits of chili and spicy syrup. High-end hotels provide live TV streaming of Mayon's eruption, while out-of-town journalists and tourists are also corralled into "volcano-view" rooms with windows looking out onto the slowly unfolding disaster. Albay saw a 10% growth in tourist arrivals this month from a year earlier, the local tourism office said, as travel agencies and tour guide services cashed in on what is normally a slow period after Christmas.

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