TALIKUD Island on the Island Garden City of Samal is set to be the next Boracay of the south with the implementation of the P5.8-million Open Beach Line project.

The project aims to establish Samal's biggest islet, known for its long white sand beaches and world-class diving sites, as a model in sustainable tourism development, along with enhanced competitiveness and investment promotion of the tourism-related businesses in the province of Davao del Norte.

It will be funded under the third batch of beneficiaries under Canadian government-financed Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) to be implemented from 2014-2016.

The LGSP-LED is an $18-million, eight-year bilateral project in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that provides LGUs technical know-how in improving their business environment to be more competitive, attractive to investments, and conducive to job creation.

Provincial planning and development officer Josie Jean Rabanos said Talikud is the only destination in Mindanao included in the 10 new projects under the Batch 3 project sites of the LGSP-LED.

The prioritization of the projects, which are focused on tourism development in various regions of the country, including in Yolanda-affected areas, was anchored on the priority Tourism Development Areas (TDAs) identified in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2012-2016.

Provincial tourism officer Noel Daquioag said the Open Beach project seeks to engage the local private sector in creating circuit-based tour packages to Davao City and other complementary attraction sites of Davao del Norte, among other objectives.

He revealed beachfront structures in Talikud, including those extending towards the sea will be evaluated in terms of their impact, placement and necessity, in such a way that they will not disrupt the beauty and balance of forces that shape the coastlines.

Renewed interest on the paradise island was drummed up when Governor Rodolfo del Rosario launched the Ugmad Komunidad program in Talikud some three years ago to help constituents generate more revenues through livelihood and sports tourism activities.

The province also built a 16-kilometer circumferential road to spur socio-economic development in the island.