HOLIDAY. Filipino Muslims participate in early morning prayers at the Blue Mosque in Maharlika Village, Taguig City on Saturday (July 9, 2022). They are celebrating Eid-al Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice. (PNA photos by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco on Saturday vowed inclusive and sustainable tourism as the country's Muslim community observes Eid'l Adha (Feast of Sacrifice).

Frasco earlier said she will help develop and promote Mindanao as a tourist destination.

On June 7, she met with DOT directors in Mindanao to discuss the challenges of the various regions and tourism stakeholders there.

"The Tourism that we foster is one of inclusivity, sustainability, and social responsibility," she said in a statement. “As we move towards also highlighting lesser-known communities and parts of our beautiful country, our Muslim brothers and sisters can count on the Department to increase opportunities for progress and prosperity."

Marie Elaine Unchuan, the DOT-Northern Mindanao chief who was part of the meeting, said they are glad that Frasco made the assurance to put the spotlight on the region.

"Talagang nakatutok ang lahat (The attention is there), not just us but a lot of agencies, in peace and order efforts and tourism development. Kasi alam naman natin na kapag bumaba ang turismo diyan sa isang area at maayos naman, magkakaroon ng income opportunities 'yung mga tao (If chances lost in tourism are regained, there will be more income opportunities)," she told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

"We're very thankful na si (that) Sec. Frasco sinabi niya na (said) she will help Mindanao," she added.

During the meeting, Frasco raised the need to develop more air and seaports, and additional routes to improve accessibility for all tourists.

Unchuan said her office submitted to Frasco a report listing the infrastructure development the region needed, including upgrading its airport to accommodate international flights.

"(The development of the airport) is actually under the Department of Transportation's purview but of course, for us, we would like to encourage that because we also monitor the progress of the airport," Unchuan said. "It's in our best interest in tourism na mas maayos 'yung airport facility and siyempre maka-accommodate ng (that we have better airports to accommodate more) international flights." (PNA)