THE town of Sta. Fe in northern Cebu is poised to see a boost in its tourism investments should the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) declare its islet a tourism enterprise zone.
Competing against 10 other locations in the country, Hilantagaan, a 500-hectare islet, has been identified by Tieza as a possible tourism enterprise zone early this year, Sta. Fe Mayor Jose Esgana said.
This means the creation of more investments in the town, which will boost job creation. Tourism, according to Esgana, is the major source of employment in Sta. Fe side by side with fishing.
Home to 4,000 residents, Esgana said Hilantagaan may become an agri-tourism site if the Tieza project is pursued. He said the islet, which is 30 minutes away from the town through banca, doesn’t have any tourism infrastructure in place.
In a separate interview with Sta. Fe tourism officer Melanie Loyao yesterday, she clarified that Tieza has yet to announce the result, but she said Hilantagaan islet was shortlisted in the final three.
“They did not name the other destinations. They also didn’t announce the criteria, but based on the documents we gave them, that was their basis on the rankings,” she said.
She said that should Sta. Fe be chosen as Tieza’s tourism enterprise zone, Tieza will market the Hilantagaan islet to investors and as a tourism destination. Tieza representatives came to Sta. Fe early this year, but Loyao said they are still waiting for Tieza’s announcement.
Tieza has first identified two public tourism enterprise zones this year, namely San Vicente in Palawan and Rizal Park in Manila.
The flagship project is being implemented under the country’s National Tourism Development Plan.
Tieza, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT), is responsible for implementing the department’s policies and programs on the development, promotion, and supervision of tourism projects in the country.