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Travel: Philippine Tourism Chief Frasco kicks off listening tours in Visayas, Mindanao

CEBU, PHILIPPINES — Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco encouraged the DOT regional offices in the Visayas and Mindanao to continuously reach out to local government units (LGUs) and stakeholders to ensure the alignment of tourism development initiatives.

In the first leg of her listening tours as tourism chief, Secretary Frasco met with the top officials of DOT Region 6 (Western Visayas), Region 7 (Central Visayas), Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), Region 11 (Davao Region), Region 12 (SOCKSARGEN), and Region 13 (CARAGA) at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu.

“Moving forward, I would want for us, in the same way, that I am reaching out to you, to continuously reach out to our local government officials and local stakeholders because I think that the model for that — which has been Cebu — has proven very successful that even throughout the pandemic, domestic tourism still flourished because DOT Region, the Provincial Government, local government officials, and private stakeholders were all aligned. And it is this alignment that we need across all regions that will spell the success of our endeavors in the Department,” said Secretary Frasco.

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“The reality is that the success or failure of our industry rests in the success or failure of our regions because this is where our tourist destinations are,” stressed the tourism chief.

To recall, Frasco announced that she will embark on “listening tours” to hear for herself the challenges and problems that besiege the various regions and tourism stakeholders. Additionally, through the conduct of the tour, the Secretary hopes to start the process of assessing the contemporary challenges in the tourism sector. Fund availability and utilization, tourism infrastructure, and transportation were among the issues raised during the discussions with the regional offices.

Frasco has enjoined the consolidation and review of work and financial plans of the Department’s regional offices for the efficient utilization of the Department’s budget.

Pursuing her direction towards promoting better access to tourism destinations, Frasco also assessed the possibility of developing more air and seaports and additional routes to create more convenient connections for domestic and international visitors.

“I’m hopeful as well that you would be open to the innovations we wish to introduce to the Department, if only to fulfill our President’s vision to equalize opportunities for tourism promotion and development across the Philippines. On one hand, to maximize the potential of our already well-known tourist sites and, on the other hand, to further develop areas that have not necessarily been given equal attention,” the tourism chief enthused.

All officials who attended the meeting expressed their appreciation for the consultation process initiated by Frasco. “We are optimistic under this administration seeing that our Secretary is paying close attention to the concerns on the ground. We can feel that she is serious and sincere about improving tourism governance and continuing collaboration with the LGUs,” DOT-Region 10 Director Marie Elaine Unchuan added.

“We are ecstatic about this transition because we have a Secretary who listens. It is important for us to have a Secretary who supports and understands the issues faced by the regions,” said Director Tanya Virginia Rabat-Tan of DOT-Region 11.

Expressing hope that the DOT will be achieving more in terms of benefits for stakeholders, Director Karina Rose Tiopes of DOT-Region 8 stated, “With Secretary Frasco at the helm of the DOT, we are certain that the future is rosy for the tourism industry.”

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