Five cities in WB $300 million tourist program
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - October 6, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has identified the five targeted destinations for the rollout of its Transforming Communities towards Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Tourism (TouRIST) program, a $300-million project funded by the World Bank Group.

In a statement, the DOT named Bohol, Siargao, Siquijor, Davao City and Samal Island as the targeted destinations for the TouRIST program.

“The TouRIST program will be a vehicle for us to implement a coordinated effort between the various government organizations and instrumentalities and realize sustainable tourism development,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

The DOT said it recently convened the World Bank Group, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), local chief executives and representatives from target destinations to kick-off the TouRIST program.

“World Bank chose it based on the tourism demand of cities... Because of increasing tourist demand they need capital and local infrastructure,” Puyat said.

The five TouRIST sites were selected because of the rapid increase in tourism demand, potential for future development, lack of financing to address emerging capital investment needs, rich cultural heritage sites and biodiversity and socio-economic impact for poverty alleviation.

“With the support of the World Bank, we will enhance tourism infrastructure, livelihood, disaster risk reduction and crisis management and tourism policy and regulation,” Puyat added.

The TouRIST program of the DOT is in partnership with the World Bank Group and national government agencies which will be a platform for integrated approach and collaboration. It will be supervised by the Tourism Coordinating Council (TCC).

The DOT added that it is also working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the same TouRIST program for two other destinations – Coron and El Nido in Palawan.

“Both international funding agencies were enthusiastic about the DOT’s TouRIST program when it was presented to them and have committed to give their financial assistance to it,” the DOT said.

It added that a proposed technical mission schedule for the targeted destinations is set for October.

Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon earlier said that the TCC expressed their support for the DOT’s new projects, such as the TouRIST program.

“We are elated that the members of the council are unanimous in expressing their continued support to the aforecited projects and initiatives of the department,” Bengzon earlier said.

Under Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, the TCC will serve as the coordinating body for national tourism development efforts.

DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
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