The province of Bohol now has its own Tourist Rest Area (TRA), formally turned over by the Department of Tourism (DOT) over the weekend.
The TRA will cater to tourists passing through the town of Dauis, which serves as a gateway to multiple tourist destinations in the province such as the famed Alona Beach in Panglao, Virgin Island Sandbar, Balicasag Island, and Baclayon Church.
Dauis, one of two municipalities comprising Panglao Island, is also home to numerous tourism offerings including the Hinagdanan Cave, Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Bikini Beach, Bingag Beach, and San Isidro Beach.
“Here in Bohol, we view this gem of an island to be a source of national pride because you have, by your work, and by your example, established a sustainable eco-tourism destination where the public and private sector work hand in hand. And as a result of this initiative, you are now globally renowned as the Philippines’ very first UNESCO Global Geopark,” DOT Secretary Christina Frasco said during the TRA inauguration.
“I congratulate all of you, all of our officials, including our governor for this monumental achievement,” she added.
DOT initiatives applauded
Bohol 1st District Rep. Edgardo Chatto lauded Frasco for breathing life into the tourism industry.
“Maybe it’s small for some, but it is big in terms of impact to the entire tourism industry,” Chatto said.
Chatto said the construction of the TRA in Bohol speaks well about the Boholano hospitality and the country’s readiness to accept partnerships with the international community by bringing more tourists.
“Once you have these Tourist Rest Areas in many areas of the country, I am pretty sure that domestic as well as international travelers will really be amazed at the readiness of the country,” he said.
Chatto is one of the principal authors of Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, which recognizes tourism as an indispensable component of the national economy and an industry of national interest and importance.
Meanwhile, Governor Erico Aristotle Aumentado said the turnover of the first completed TRA in the province is a welcome development for the province as it enters “a new and exciting chapter” post-pandemic.
“As we continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we are entering a phase in which we must diversify our offerings for our guests and introduce our island paradise as more than just the white sand beaches of Panglao to the rolling slopes of Chocolate Hills,” Aumentado said in a message read by Provincial Administrator Aster Caberte.
The governor also expressed gratitude to the DOT and its infrastructure arm and funding source, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
Dauis Mayor Roman Bullen said the turnover ceremony is a significant milestone for the municipality of Dauis as well as for the entire Bohol province.
“I could say that the Department of Tourism and TIEZA have chosen the best strategic location for the tourist area since our municipality is located in the sweet spot, which is the middle of Tagbilaran City and municipality of Panglao,” he said.
On the sidelines of the inauguration, Frasco led the distribution of kits tour guiding essentials to tour guides.
More investors pick Bohol
The inauguration of the first TRA in Bohol coincided with the groundbreaking ceremony of the soon-to-rise global luxury property JW Marriott Panglao Island Resort and Residences in Panglao Island.
Frasco emphasized that the vision of the Marcos administration is not just for the country to recover after the devastating effects of the pandemic but to transform and elevate the quality of tourism offerings for the Philippines as well as to push for investments to come to the country.
“With JW Marriott establishing its resort and residences here, this spells more economic opportunities for our fellow Filipinos, increased livelihood, and the continuing contribution of tourism to our overall economic growth,” she said.
“These investments in the Philippines will also signal to the rest of the world that the country is ready to take its place as Asia’s next tourism powerhouse.”
She assured local stakeholders that the current administration will continue to strengthen the foundation for tourism by investing in infrastructure, connectivity, digitalization, and introducing innovation to the country’s overall tourism portfolio.
“We join the people of Bohol in celebration of this milestone for the island, and we continue to express our confidence in Bohol’s potential as a continuing pillar for sustainable ecotourism,” she said. (PNA)