This was the announcement made by of the Central Luzon regional office in a press statement issued recently.
Regional Director Ronaldo P. Tiotuico said that an action planning conference was held on January 19-20, 2012 among regional executives of DOT and DPWH together with some partner NGOs and tourism councils. This conference fleshed out the directives contained in the agreement by prioritizing tourism road infrastructure projects (TRIP) located in the twenty one (21) tourism development areas (TDAs) identified in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP 2011-2016). A TDA is defined as an area covered by a single LGU that has already an existing or emerging tourist center but which lacks road infrastructure support leading to places most frequently visited by tourists.
This is just the first step in achieving the goal of generating 10 million visitors in 2016, Tiotuico said. Many more projects are forthcoming.
The conference was hosted by USAID, Asia Foundation and facilitated by REID Foundation. Based on the agreement, DOT identifies these tourism road projects while DPWH builds. The timetable for this project is between 2013 up to 2016.
A new set of criteria has been established to serve as the basis for identifying these projects in the regions. Priority will be given to those tourism development areas which have already an existing gateway like an airport or seaport, and are served by a service center clustered by hotels, dining facilities, among other services. Priority will also be granted to tourist centers which generate a significant number of visitors and are supported by an ample supply of rooms and services.
In Central Luzon alone, and in accordance with the NTDP conclusions, its TDAs consist of Subic-Clark-Tarlac corridor, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan coast and inland, Zambales coast, Nueva Ecija and Aurora. Based on data gathered from the local tourism offices, these areas have already existing gateways and are served by a host of vital tourism services while the volume of visitor arrivals has become significant to warrant priority consideration in the program with a significant number of hotel rooms to support such development.
On the other hand, the volume of domestic visitor arrivals in the entire region has reach the one millionth mark based on statistics gathered by LGUs - 50% of which is generated by both Clark and Subic.
The tourism road infrastructure project is expected to interlink all the provinces in Central Luzon to the gateway in Clark. In so doing, DOT is optimistic that it will increase visitor traffic in all the provinces, bolster the economic development of the entire region and at the same time create more jobs for all.
The final draft of the project for Central Luzon is expected to be formally submitted to DPWH by April 9, 2012 for inclusion in their 2013 work program. Meanwhile local tourism offices in the region are enjoined to sit down together and identify their priority tourism road projects based on the list articulated in the NTDP.
The members of the panel for Central Luzon include Dir. Antonio Molano, Jr. and Sergio Dizon of DPWH-RIII, Dir. Ronaldo Tiotuico and Sol Tayson of DOT-RIII, President Frankie Villanueva and Chairman Tito Lazatin of the Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (MACCII), Linda Pamintuan of Subic Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC), Christine Nunag and Rico Suarez of Angeles City Tourism Office.