CEBU CITY, Philippines, 12 July 2022: Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco is encouraging the DOT regional offices in the Visayas and Mindanao to reach out to local government units 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, last week.

DOT. Tourism chief Frasco (third from left) tells regional tourism offices to listen to local communities and government units.

“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 endeavours in the Department,” said Secretary Frasco.

“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,” she stressed.

To recall, Frasco announced that she would 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 utilisation, 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 utilisation 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 fulfil our President’s vision to equalise opportunities for tourism promotion and development across the Philippines. On the one hand, to maximise 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.

(Source: DOT)