THE role of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Authority (Tieza) in rehabilitating Boracay and addressing the perennial flooding in the island tops the agency’s accomplishments for 2018.
“We are proud that Tieza is helping make Boracay a sustainable tourism destination. Through this, generations of tourists will benefit from a cleaner and waste-free island,” Tieza Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas said. “We are fully committed to complete long-term engineering solutions which will permanently address the problems that beset Boracay.”
Tieza has invested more than P1 billion to address the flooding problem in Boracay when they implemented Phase II of the Boracay Water Drainage Project.
The construction period was shortened to two years instead of the original seven years. The implementation of Phase II is expected to be completed by end of 2019.
Tieza continues to align its projects to the thrusts of Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) to protect and preserve the island as a prime tourist destination. The Tieza chief asserted their full support to the efforts of the Department of Tourism (DOT) to promote sustainable tourism and rehabilitate not just Boracay but other major tourist destinations in the country.
Tourism enterprise zones and tourism enterprises
As of January 2019, Tieza has designated five flagship tourism economic zones (TEZ), which is projected to generate one million jobs in a span of 10 years, while 10 private TEZs with tourism enterprises will create 53,000 jobs during the construction and operation stage, and estimated investments amounting to P80 billion.
Tieza has also awarded the certificates of registration to the Magikland Cultural Zone inside the Aton Land and Leisure TEZ, Kingdom Stadium inside Kingdom Global City TEZ in Davao, Lazuli and Kabote Beach Resort in San Vicente, and the Signature Suites in Boracay.
The Tieza chief explained that since they assumed leadership in 2017, the asset rehabilitation program has been the priority of the Tieza board of directors to improve the agency’s owned and managed properties’ marketability and performance. There were short-term repairs conducted and long-term rehabilitation plans laid down for the following six operating assets: Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel, Club Intramuros Golf Course, Light and Sounds Museum, Balicasag Island Dive Resort, Zamboanga Golf Course and Beach Park and Gardens of Malasag Ecotourism Village.
Paragas remarked that this is the first major rehabilitation program in a decade.
“We are now prioritizing the construction of tourism infrastructure projects of national interest and significance through the Dreams thrust: destination, restoration, eco-sustainability, agri-tourism, medical assistance, and security and accessibility,” the Tieza COO said.
Tieza reported the completion of 26 projects in 2018, with 112 undergoing construction.
In 2018, Tieza also installed floating docks to ensure safety and convenience in embarkation and disembarkation on the shores of Palawan, specifically in El Nido and Honda Bay. These were turned over to the respective local government units for proper maintenance and sustainable use.
Tieza will soon highlight big ticket projects, such as the lighting of the San Juanico Bridge in Leyte and Samar, and rehabilitation of the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao Province, which aim to spur tourism development within communities and preserve eco-cultural heritage.
“With an efficient travel tax collection, we are able to lay down the foundation for the ever growing and dynamic Philippine tourism industry by providing much needed infrastructure in tourism destinations in the country,” the Tieza COO said.
Fifty percent of Tieza’s share is mostly allocated to tourism-related infrastructure projects. The operational fees for the collection of travel tax are also sourced from Tieza’s share.
Almost 50 percent of the total gross travel collections were remitted through the airlines. Since Tieza authorized Cebu Pacific Air in 2017 to accept travel tax payments for their passengers departing for abroad, 82 percent of their outbound passengers have paid online. (PR)