Tourism masterplan consultations to start this year

Carlo Lorenciana

CONSULTANCY work on the tourism masterplan for Central Visayas could start this year to map out how the industry can further attract investments and diversify its markets.

Department of Tourism 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano said the consultancy period may take a year to complete, as stakeholders across the industry will be consulted.

The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority sets the bidding on the plan’s P61.295 million consultancy deal on March 10, 2020.

“The consultancy will also include a comprehensive tourism development plan for Siquijor island,” Tamano told SunStar Cebu in a phone interview Tuesday, March 3.

The official noted the consultancy will cover all the vital stakeholders in tourism, from hospitality companies to the small players in the sector, like the tour guides.

The masterplan will also detail how Central Visayas, home to the country’s major tourist hubs Cebu and Bohol, will improve its infrastructure as well as tourism products.

“Tourism transport is one area the masterplan will cover. There will also be assessment of our current products. We will also consult the design community and how it bodes well with tourism,” Tamano said.

Late last year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recognized Cebu as a Creative City of Design, boosting the island’s image as a magnet of creativity.

The Central Visayas masterplan will identify new tourism circuits or destinations, promotional materials and collaterals.

It will also identify the tourism-support infrastructure projects needed in the region’s four provinces namely, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental.

Tamano emphasized the need to diversify the region’s tourism markets, now that the industry has been heavily affected by the travel restrictions imposed on its huge visitors, the Chinese and Koreans.

In 2018, Central Visayas recorded around eight million local and foreign tourists.

The number of foreign visitors rose by 25 percent during that year while domestic arrivals grew by 9.7 percent.