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HomeFront PageBreaking NewsDOT underscores Mindanao's vital role in PH's tourism growth

DOT underscores Mindanao’s vital role in PH’s tourism growth

By Apipa Bagumbaran

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA) — Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco reiterated Mindanao’s significance in the country’s tourism transformation.

Frasco highlighted during her address at the second Mindanao Tourism Expo (MTEx) Mindanao’s rich biodiversity and vibrant culture, citing it as a source of national pride for the Filipinos.

Acknowledging the region’s vast potential, she stated that upon assuming the role of Department of Tourism secretary, one of her initial priorities was the opening, promotion, and development of Mindanao.

Frasco emphasized that MTEx is a flagship program of the Marcos administration that recognizes the massive potential of Mindanao. The expo, which showcased the diverse tourist attractions of Mindanao, ran from April 26 to 28 in Cagayan de Oro City. It was hosted by the DOT- Northern Mindanao.

She said the MTEX is crucial in realizing the president’s tourism vision and positioning the Philippines as Asia’s next tourism powerhouse. 

“Naa dinhi sa Mindanao ang susi sa kalamboan sa atong turismo. Tungod kay atong nakita nga bisag asang dapit ka moadto sa Mindanao, dili gyud mabangbang, pagkanindot sa inyong lugar, pagkalami sa inyong pagkaon, pagkanindot sa inyong kultura, ug pinakaimportante sa tanan, ang atong mga kaigsoonan dinhi sa Mindanao—in you is reflected the best asset of Philippine tourism,” Frasco emphasized.

(Because we have seen that no matter where you go in Mindanao, you cannot deny the beauty of your place, the deliciousness of your food, the richness of your culture, and most importantly, the warmth and hospitality of its people.)

Frasco also stressed that the MTEx is more than just an exhibition; it includes additional features such as business-to-consumer and business-to-business interactions, as well as post-familiarization tours, so that stakeholders and visitors will spread the word that Mindanao is fully prepared for tourism.

“While we continue to promote our award-winning and well-known destinations, we ensure that no one is left behind in the development of tourism in the Philippines, which is precisely why we have founded the Mindanao Tourism Expo to provide opportunities for our destinations in this region and, as well, to open the eyes of the Philippines to the beauty of Mindanao,” she said.

The Secretary further elaborated that within the framework of the National Tourism Development Plan of the Marcos administration, the DOT has pinpointed key focus areas for development. These include infrastructure, connectivity, digitalization, enhancement of the overall tourism experience, and strengthening tourism governance.  She stressed that this entails collaborative efforts between the national government, local government, and private tourism stakeholders.

Specific to the goals of tourism development in Mindanao, Frasco highlighted the implementation of various infrastructure projects aimed at both attracting tourists and enhancing their experience for repeat visits. Among these projects is the establishment of tourist rest areas (TRAs). The first TRA in Mindanao was established in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, followed by another in Samal Island, Davao del Norte.

“We are very happy to announce that this year and in the succeeding years, we plan to construct tourist rest areas all over the Philippines, including other areas here in Mindanao,” Frasco added.

Frasco also announced that local government units (LGUs) in Mindanao, such as Isabela City in Basilan, Davao City in Davao del Sur, Samal Island and Tagum City in Davao del Norte, and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur, were recently awarded financial grants under the Tourism Champions Challenge program. This nationwide campaign incentivizes LGUs with proposed tourism infrastructure projects that prioritize sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience. (APB, PIA Region 10)

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