THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 and Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 are crafting the terms of reference for the creation of the region’s tourism master plan.
The agencies have formed a technical working group (TWG) that will work on the creation of terms of reference which they will present to the region’s Economic Development Council (EDC) this month for input and negotiation, said DOT 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano.
After EDC, the agencies will present the output to the Regional Development Council, local officials and all agencies in the region.
The TWG held its first meeting on May 6, 2019.
Neda 7 Director Efren Carreon said the terms of reference that the TWG will prepare are needed so the proposed tourism master plan for the region can be proposed to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority for funding.
He said the master plan is needed to improve the tourism products being offered and how these would affect the community and its residents.
Tamano said there is an imperative need to come up with a master plan for Central Visayas, as the tourism industry in the region has grown as a result of new developments in the region.
“This master plan is important because this will help us make the tourism industry in the sector sustainable. This will also help investors determine which areas in tourism they could pour their investments in,” said Tamano.
The master plan will look into critical areas in tourism such as safety and security, infrastructure, destinations, room capacity, people and transportation.
Tamano said Central Visayas plays a major role in the country’s tourism growth. In 2018, the region welcomed eight million local and foreign tourists.
The number of foreign visitors rose by 25 percent compared to the previous year while domestic arrivals grew by 9.7 percent.
Carreon said the start of the commercial operations of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport were big contributors to the spike of tourist arrivals in the region.
The number of flights to and from the region reached 117,850 in 2018, up by almost 18 percent from 999,986 flights recorded a year ago. Around 22 percent of the flights were international, up by almost 26 percent.
According to Carreon, all provinces in the region except Negros Oriental registered double-digit growth in visitor arrivals, with Siquijor posting the highest growth at 48.8 percent. Bohol and Cebu realized 32.3 percent and 14.3 percent increases in visitor arrivals, respectively.
“This suggests that efforts to promote the other provinces in the region as premier tourist destinations are seeing results,” said Carreon.