TACLOBAN CITY – Tourism stakeholders in Eastern Visayas came up with a master list of tourism infrastructure that the national government could look for funding in the future.
Department of Tourism Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes on Wednesday said they recently gathered key stakeholders from six provinces of the region to identify roads, bridges, ports, information and communications technology and other structures needed to support tourism activities.
“We want to be one step ahead. We want to be ready if in case agencies tasked to implement infrastructure projects have available funds for the region,” Tiopes told the Philippine News Agency.
Joining the workshop are tourism officers, establishment owners, local government officials and national government agency representatives.
The master list, according to Tiopes, also include a program of work, which consists of project design, location, impact and budget requirement.
The list would be submitted to the National Economic Development Authority for endorsement by the Regional Development Council.
“We’re not promising funds, but we need to be prepared if the opportunity for funding is there. There are instances that funds are available, but we have no prepared project proposals,” Tiopes said.
The master listing is very timely as the central government has yet to come up with guidelines on the implementation of tourism infrastructure projects similar to the convergence program known as the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program implemented in the past administrations.
He added that a certain destination would attract tourists if needed infrastructures are in place.
Eastern Visayas region consists of the provinces of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar and Southern Leyte and the cities of Baybay, Borongan, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Maasin, Ormoc and Tacloban, the Eastern Visayas’ regional center.
Among its popular destinations are Kalanggaman Island, San Juanico Bridge, Leyte Landing Memorial in Leyte; Sambawan Island in Biliran; diving sites in Southern Leyte; Calicoan Island in Eastern Samar; Sohoton Cave and Natural Park in Samar and Biri Rock Formations in Northern Samar.
The region remains relatively under the radar compared to other tourist destinations in the Philippines, but this has been slowly changing in the past years as demand for raw nature tourism grows, Tiopes said.
More people visit the region in pursuit of rugged coasts and landscapes, secret caves and waterfalls and fascinating histories. (PNA)