IFUGAO will have a comprehensive tourism plan by next year, Governor Dennis Habawel has assured.

“We have many action plans but not a master plan for tourism here,” Habawel said.

The plan includes set up an airport in Lagawe, the province capital, but it has been put on hold while waiting for certification from Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, he said.

“An airport will provide a major transport alternative here,” Habawel said.

The governor said the airport will also have to be checked out by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and pass environmental scrutiny.

Habawel said a sustainable tourism development plan can go a long way in preserving the Ifugao rice terraces.

“The rice terraces entice people to come and visit the province and at the same time income will be plowed back to the terraces,” he said.

The terraces are in a bad way, and rehabilitation calls for the stabilization of the rice paddies to prevent the retaining walls from collapsing and improving irrigation.

Habawel was part of the Philippine delegation to a workshop on sustainable tourism in Malaysia organized by the United Nations Educational Science and Cultural Organization.