TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Department of Tourism-Cordillera (DOT-CAR) chief Jovita Ganongan is encouraging local government units (LGUs) to join the ‘Tourism Champions Challenge’ to win up to P20 million in funding, saying Kalinga has a huge tourism potential that would greatly benefit from the program.
Ganongan was in the city today to meet with tourism stakeholders to inform them about the nationwide contest which aims to foster countrywide tourism development among cities and municipalities.
“Eto ay isang opportunity rin para makapagbigay tayo ng tourism development sa mga municipalities natin na karamihan ay rural areas din, and to help them if they really want to adopt tourism as an economic development strategy,” Ganongan said in an interview.
“Sa Cordillera, kasama na ang Kalinga, nakikita natin na malaki talaga ang potential niya sa turismo. It’s not as if we’re starting from zero. Napakalaki ng cultural tourism value ng province of Kalinga, especially napakasikat na ng Kalinga, dahil nga nanalo tayo sa Guinness world record. That’s already a feat na we should take advantage of and opportunity na rin ito para siguro ipakita natin yung mga iba pang potentials,” she said.
Funded by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority or TIEZA, the ‘Tourism Champions Challenge’ is a contest of the best project proposals that will spur economic development through tourism.
Five winners each will be chosen from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. First prize winners will get Php 20 million each, second placers will receive Php 15 million each, third placers will get P 10 million each while the fourth and fifth placers will get Php 8 million and Php 7 million each, respectively.
Ganongan said the best project proposals from the region will be shortlisted by the DOT-CAR based on a set criterion, after which, the project proposals will go through another round of evaluation at the national level.
Ganongan advised LGUs to propose projects that will enhance the existing tourism value of their area.
“Titignan natin sa pag-prepare ng proposal kung ano talaga yung pangangailangan. Alam nating maganda na ang turismo natin in terms of nature, adventure, culture, so ano pa ang nakikita nating kulang at the same time ano ba yung mag-e-enhance pa sa kung anong meron, so this could be in the form of infrastructure, this could be in the form of capacity building, this could be in the form of other things,” she said.
“Pwede ring mga rest areas, pwedeng mga pasalubong centers, pwede ‘yung mga cultural centers, etcetera, so anything that could really add up to the existing tourism value of the area para ma-enhance pa but all of this should be taken as one para hindi siya magiging piecemeal na development, so ‘yun siguro ang titignan dapat ng mga local government units,” Ganongan added.
Ganongan said they will be accepting project proposals until June 15, 2023.
Among those who met with the regional director today were Governor James Edubba, Lubuagan Mayor Joel Tagaotao, City Tourism Officer Arlene Odiem, City Public Information Officer Aurora Amilig who was representing Mayor Darwin Estrañero, staff of the Kalinga Tourism office, representatives of the municipal mayors of Pinukpuk, Tanudan and Tinglayan and the municipal tourism officers of Kalinga.