Tieza approves Central Visayas tourism masterplan

Carlo Lorenciana

THE tourism masterplan for Central Visayas, home to the country’s most visited islands such as Cebu and Bohol, will help spur economic growth in the region, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said.

“This will support the region’s economic growth. That is why the Regional Development Council endorsed this to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza),” Neda 7 Director Efren Carreon said.

On Nov. 28, 2019, Department of Tourism (DOT) Director Shahlimar Tamano announced the approval of the region’s tourism masterplan by the Tieza Board.

Sought for comment, Carreon said the masterplan is needed for the region to further develop the potential of tourism, which has been a key economic growth driver for tourist hubs like Cebu.

“The study will identify new tourist destinations and develop them into tourism circuits,” Carreon told SunStar Cebu.

If implemented right, the Neda official said, the plan will help the region increase its tourist arrivals.

“This will definitely attract more tourists and increase income for our tourism industry which includes many sectors such as transport, hotel, restaurant and malls,” he said.

The Tieza approval of the masterplan will mean it will get funding from the agency for its implementation.

Tieza is an attached unit of the DOT tasked to implement policies and programs of the department pertaining to the development, promotion and supervision of tourism projects in the Philippines.

Tamano earlier said the plan is imperative for Central Visayas, whose economy is very dependent on tourism.

“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,” Tamano said.

The master plan will look into critical areas in tourism such as safety and security, infrastructure, destinations, room capacity, people and transportation.

In 2018, Region 7 recorded around 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. (S)