BANGUED, Abra – Some P110 million was included in the annual budget of the tourism department next year purposely to fund the initial improvements of three major tourism road projects leading to potential tourist destinations in the different parts of the province to help achieve the primordial goal of the local government to become one of the growing tourism destinations in the Cordillera.
Tourism officials informed Gov. Maria Jocelyn V. Bernos during the recently-included 4th quarter joint meeting of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) that the agency was able to include in its budget some P30 million for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the road leading to the Kaparkan waterfalls in Tineg, another P30 million was allotted for the development of the road leading to the Kiling waterfalls in Tubo, while some P50 million was appropriated for the improvement of the road leading to the Bani hot springs in Boliney town.
Bernos pointed out the provincial government needs sufficient funding support from concerned government agencies to significantly improve the condition of various road networks leading to identified tourism destinations in the different parts of the province to boost the projected tourism boom in the different municipalities in the coming years.
Of the province’s 174.5-kilometer provincial road system, 70% is classified as earth and dirt road wherein more than 64 kilometers are said to be gravel roads with steep slopes.
“We want to sustain the change in the image of the province to be one of the premier tourist destinations in the region in the future once our provincial road networks are fully developed considering that our twenty seven towns have their unique tourist spots which should be aggressively promoted so that foreign and domestic visitors will be enticed to include Abra in their list of must-see places around the region,” Bernos stressed.
The RDC and RPOC still recommended the inclusion of the province’s priority road projects to the various agencies responsible for the implementation of convergence projects, particularly the development of tourism roads under the DPWH and DOT convergence, among others.
Bernos revealed by next month the provincial government will be rolling out its comprehensive tourism master development plan that will incorporate all the potential tourist spots in the 27 towns through the conduct of the necessary consultations with the stakeholders, so as not to commercialize the identified tourist spots around the province but instead formulate a sustainable tourism development program beneficial to the present and future generations of Abrenians.
The governor claimed that the provincial government has an ambitious plan to make Abra as one of the priority choices of tourists who are going around the country looking for new ecotourist spots because of its existing unique waterfalls, rice terraces, hot springs among other nature destinations provincewide.
Bernos believes that the proper promotion of destinations in the different parts of the province will be the key to the eventual removal of Abra from the list of poorest provinces in the country because of the jobs that will be generated and the economic activities that will emerge in the said places. By HENT