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PIA Press Release

Southern Leyte has so much to offer for tourism, says Palace official

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (9 October) -- The province of Southern Leyte has so much to show, sell, and has many opportunities to develop and enhance its tourism potentials.

Thus spoke Cynthia Nierras, the Presidential Assistant (PA) for Eastern Visayas, during the opening remarks which ushered in the two-day Tourism Value Chain workshop held at Maasin Country Lodge here yesterday.

"Tourism is experience -- a good experience," Nierras stressed, adding that tourists usually share with others the exciting adventures (s)he had been into along with the warm reception, which impact with the economic activity in the locality.

Earlier, Provincial Board member Albert Esclamado, chair of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee on tourism, and in behalf of Gov. Damian Mercado, hinted that local government units have been encouraged to undertake income-generating ventures to augment their internal revenue allotment (IRA) shares, and prospects for tourism may as well answer this need.

For his part, City Councilor Nestor Sy, in behalf of Mayor Maloney Samaco, said he felt there was a missing link in the city's tourism program, adding that such a gap can be addressed by the two-day gathering.

Sure enough, as a direct response to the two leaders hints, PA Nierras declared that the expected output of the two-day workshop, which continues and ends today, would be the preparation of a doable provincial tourism development action plan.

She called on the participants, composed mostly of municipal tourism officers from the 18 towns and one city of the province and their respective planning officers, to revisit the tourism plan crafted in a workshop in Ormoc in December, 2005, start from there, make essential changes to update with the times, and have an action plan for 2010.

Since then, at least three big developments happened in the province that can certainly boost tourism, such as the concreting of major national roads through the 23rd yen loan project, the construction of the Agas-Agas bridge which goes on record as the country's highest bridge perfect for extreme sports, and the building of a new ferry terminal at barangay Benit, San Ricardo.

Nierras, formerly the Regional Director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) who took the PA post eleven months ago, said that the tourism initiatives undertaken by the Regional Development Council (RDC) was in line with the Department of Tourism's (DOT) Super Region Tourism Development Strategy as articulted by President Arroyo in one of her State of the Nation Address (SONA) a few years back.

She said the idea was to bring down the tourism framework plan to provinces, break it into clusters, and match it with the Super Region strategy.

To make things going, the RDC created the Regional Tourism Coordinating Committee (RTCC) whose specific assignment was to initiate activities to attract tourists at the municipal level.

She was optimistic such a challenge can be addressed after the two-day workshop. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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