DOT chief vows to build more tourist rest areas

DOT chief vows to build more tourist rest areas

CEBU CITY – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Frasco vowed on Monday to open more tourist rest areas (TRA) across the country to further boost the industry.

Frasco made the statement as she led the inauguration of TRA in Cebu province’s wildlife adventure capital.

In her speech, Frasco said the TRA in Cebu’s northern town of Carmen is the fourth in Cebu and 10th in the country and pledged to build 18 more of these facilities “all the way from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.”

The opening of these TRAs would be realized through the partnership with the local government units (LGU) and private stakeholders.

Frasco said more mayors in Cebu have requested her mother, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, to open the same facility in their respective areas, optimistic these would boost their local tourism efforts.

The Carmen TRA will be managed by the Cebu Zafari, a wildlife park that is home to over 1,000 animals of 120 species in a 170-hectare property.

“Gov. Gwen expanded the support beyond Cebu through her initiative to open TRAs in the sister province of Albay and Zamboanga-Sibugay,” she added.

Medellin, a sugarcane town also in Cebu north, is the first LGU in the Philippines to establish its own TRA. Other TRAs were inaugurated in Carcar City and Moalboal.

Like in three other facilities, the Carmen TRA offers various amenities, including a coffee shop, a pasalubong and souvenir store, a tourist information area, clean restrooms and free charging stations.

The souvenir shops not only sell local delicacies but also serve as a platform for Cebu’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to showcase their local products, providing them with additional livelihood opportunities and employment for the locals.

DOT-7 regional director Shahlimar Tamano said groundbreaking for TRAs in Bogo City, Dumanjug, Santander and Pinamungajan are in the pipeline.

“TRAs are precisely what we needed to promote tourism,” Garcia said in her remark during the inauguration ceremony at Carmen, citing complaints from local and foreign tourists that the Philippines lack restroom facilities for travelers.

The governor vowed to support DOT’s effort to uplift the image of the country as an emerging tourism powerhouse in Asia. (PNA)


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