THE Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas has urged the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental to revisit its tourism development plan.
Provincial supervising tourism operations officer Cristine Mansinares, who met with a team from DOT-Western Visayas headed by director Helen Catalbas in Bacolod City recently, said they discussed the new road development projects leading to tourism sites in Negros Occidental.
Mansinares said the regional line agency has a technical group which will help the province update its tourism development plan.
“This plan includes road networks needed to boost our tourism sites,” she said, adding that they were given a deadline until December this year to make necessary updates on the province’s tourism development plan.
The regional director pointed out that proposals should be included in the said plan as one of the requirements for granting the projects to recipient-local government units (LGUs), the provincial tourism said.
DOT-Western Visayas has been pushing for more road networks to boost the region’s tourism industry.
Catalbas, in a statement earlier, said there were 168 proposed tourism road projects in the region last year.
Of the number, 79 projects amounting to P2.48 billion were included in the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Thirteen projects worth P520 million are in Negros Occidental, and one project amounting to P90 million is in Bacolod City.
“These road projects have made more tourism destinations accessible to tourists and provided a livelihood in the community,” Catalbas said, adding that “tourism facilities begin to emerge with the influx of tourists.”
The regional line agency has recognized that strong road networks often lead to better economy. With investments pouring in, it said micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are also getting a boost.
Catalbas said roads also connect people, culture, heritage, and traditions. In fact, air, land, and sea connectivity is one of the competitive advantages of Western Visayas.
“The strengthened linkage of Western Visayas to more major hubs in the Philippines made the region accessible to more domestic and foreign tourists,” she added.
On the need to review Negros Occidental’s tourism development plan, Mansinares said it should also be adopted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and endorsed by the Provincial Development Council.
Mansinares said the provincial government is currently giving priority to farm tourism.
“We should provide more attention to road networks leading to DOT-accredited farm tourism sites,” she said, adding that the funding for these projects will come from the convergence fund of the DOT and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).