Tuesday, May 21, 2024

15 LGUs Win Tourism Champions Challenge, Get Budget For Infra Projects


15 LGUs Win Tourism Champions Challenge, Get Budget For Infra Projects


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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Monday awarded the top 15 local government units (LGUs) that won in the Tourism Champions Challenge (TCC).

The TCC is the DOT’s response to Marcos’ vision for the Philippines to become a tourism powerhouse in Asia. Guidelines for its implementation were approved on April 4, 2023.

Citing the National Tourism Development Plan of 2023-2028, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said the DOT is committed to the equalization of tourism product development and promotion.

“While mass tourism has boosted our economy, it has also brought challenges to our local sites and communities. Concentrated tourism development can lead to social, environmental, and cultural strains,” Frasco said.

“Through the TCC, we are taking deliberate steps to distribute tourism growth more evenly, ensuring that every community benefits from our collective efforts,” she added

The DOT regional offices received about 98 project proposals from 90 LGUs. Each of the proposals aims to enhance and develop local tourism destinations.

The best project proposals were selected according to these criteria: resiliency, inclusivity, and sustainable development (20 percent); relevance to the “Challenge” theme (10 percent); project objective and impact to tourism (20 percent); economic and financial viability (20 percent); sustainability mechanism (15 percent); and, presentation quality (15 percent).

The judges are from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the University of the Philippines Asian Institute of Tourism.

Of the 15 selected LGUs, five are from Luzon, five are from Visayas, and five are from Mindanao. They were ranked first to fifth place.

In Luzon, the five LGUs are Ambaguio, Nueva Vizcaya for Ambaguio Skyport – The 1st Local Paragliding “Airport Terminal” in the Philippines (1st place); Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro for Pinagpalabg Lagusan sa Bakawan: A Mangrove Forest Park Development (2nd place); Bolinao, Pangasinan for Legacy of the Sea Project: A Silaki Island Community-Based Tourism Project (3rd place); San Jose, Romblon for Eco-Tourism Park Socorro (4th place); and Oriental Mindoro for Naujan Lake Wetlands Center (5th place).

In Visayas, the five winner LGUs are Tubigon, Bohol for Enchanted Ilijan Plug of Tubigon (1st); Badian, Cebu for Badian Toong Spring Nature Park (2nd); Silago, Southern Leyte for Silago Ridge to Reef Eco-Experience Project: Promoting Sustainability through Eco-Heritage Tourism (3rd place); Victorias City, Negros Occidental for Gawahon, A Birder’s Paradise: Haven for Sustainable and Inclusive Eco-Tourism (4th place); and Panay, Capiz for Panay: A Coastal Resource Experience (5th place).

In Mindanao, the five winners are Isabela City, Basilan for Lampinigan SANDS: The Lampinigan Jetty Port and Leisure Development Project (1st place); Davao City, Davao del Sur for Panunod: A Way of Life, Inherited Preservation of the Unwavering Legacy of Cultural and Sustainable Tourism of the Davao City (2nd place); Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte for Mangrove Boardwalk and Gallery (3rd place); Tagum City, Davao del Norte for Truly Tagum: Advancing the Benefits of an Enriched Heritage-Tourism Circuit (4th place); and San Agustin, Surigao del Sur for Tourist Catwalk at Gata to Bretania Mangrove Areas (5th place).

President Marcos and Frasco awarded the winners with certificate and cash budget from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for the implementation of their project proposals.

The first place winners received PHP20 million; second place winners, PHP15 million; third place winners, PHP10 million; fourth place winners, PHP8 million; and fifth place winners, PHP 7 million.

After the awarding ceremony, Marcos announced that the TIEZA approved the additional PHP5 million budget for each winner of the TCC.

“We’re doing this because it is a very, very good policy to invest in success. So, make the most of it. Make the Philippines proud,” he said.

“We assure you that we will match your industry, equal your dedication and compliment your work. The national government will bring more infrastructure, implement tourism-friendly policies and arouse interest from global audiences,” he added. (PNA)