BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental’s provincial government will update the province’s tourism development plan in collaboration with the Department of Tourism 6 (DOT-6).
Provincial supervising tourism operations Cristine Mansinares, said Friday the technical group of DOT-6 will help the province draft the revisions.
Mansinares added she recently met with DOT-6 director Helen Catalbas and part of the discussion was the new road development projects leading to tourism sites in Negros Occidental.
These identified road networks will be included in the new plan, she noted.
“We were given a deadline until December this year to make the necessary updates on the province’s tourism development plan,” Mansinares said.
She added the tourism development plan should be adopted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and endorsed by the Provincial Development Council.
“We should provide more attention to road networks leading to DOT-accredited farm tourism sites,” Mansinares said.
In 2018, tourist arrivals in Negros Occidental, including its capital Bacolod City, hit almost 1.76 million, which was 2 percent higher than the 1.72 million visitors recorded in 2017.
The DOT-6 has been pushing for more road networks to boost the region’s tourism industry.
In 2018, there were 168 proposed tourism road projects in Western Visayas. Of the number, 79 projects amounting to P2.48 billion were included in the 2018 General Appropriations Act.
These included 13 projects in Negros Occidental which amounted to P520 million and one project worth P90 million in Bacolod City.
“These road projects have made more tourism destinations accessible to tourists and provided a livelihood in the community. Tourism facilities begin to emerge with the influx of tourists,” Catalbas said.
According to DOT-6, strong road networks often lead to a better economy, and with investments pouring in, micro, small and medium enterprises also get to benefit from it.
Catalbas noted that roads also connect people, culture, heritage, and traditions, adding that air, land, and sea connectivity is one of Western Visayas’ competitive advantages.
“The strengthened linkage of Western Visayas to more major hubs in the Philippines made the region accessible to more domestic and foreign tourists,” he said. (With a report from PNA/PN)