Tacloban City – The Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Office 8 spearheaded EV tourism stakeholders’ consultation to come up with a more comprehensive Eastern Visayas Regional Tourism Roadmap 2017-2022 with DOT Undersecretary Alma Rita de los Reyes Jimenez as the keynote speaker at the Oriental Leyte Hotel, Palo, Leyte, December 14, 2016.
Participated in by the different sector representatives, the event was also attended by Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, Leyte Governor Dominic Petilla, provincial and city tourism officers.
The event highlights on the strategic directions for the tourism development in the Region.
Usec. Jimenez underscored the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2016 to 2022 which she said has already been reviewed and for discussion with the Tourism Coordinating Council as well as tourism stakeholders.
Under the new NTDP, the DOT is targeting to increase international tourist arrivals to 12 million by 2022 from 5.36 million in 2015.
Jimenez pointed out of the new administration’s thrust to develop the destinations in poor and underdeveloped provinces to promote inclusive growth.
Meanwhile, Governor Tan also shared her Samar Spark experience which she said was a result of collaboration of partner agencies including DOT. The campaign which started in 2014 resulted in increased tourism activities in the province.
“Our objectives were simple, we wanted to position Samar as one of the country’s rising tourism and investment destination. We wanted to strengthen the existing tourist sites such as the Basey, Marabut, Paranas circuit with an end view of bringing in high valued tourists and investors in Samar and we call it the Tandaya Trail,” Tan said.
Eastern Visayas’ leading tourism destinations are currently under thorough assessment as the Department of Tourism (DOT) and stakeholders come up with a new tourism roadmap for implementation in 2017 to 2022.
The Eastern Visayas Regional Development Plan for 2011-2016 indicates that the status of tourism industry in the region has a lot to catch up compared with other areas in Central Philippines.
The main entry point to Eastern Visayas, which is Tacloban City, has registered tourist arrivals of only 145,000 in 2006. This number accounts for only 4% of the tourist arrivals in the entire Central Philippines.
It also says that the challenges in the tourism industry of the region have something to do with the gaps seen in the tourism value chain for almost all Tourism Development Areas (TDAs). These are in: promoting and advertising of the TDAs,putting in place the necessary infrastructure support and social amenities, capacity building for human resource requirements, protecting the environment and building stronger public and private collaboration. (Rowel C. Montes)