BAUKO, Mountain Province – Local officials report that the tourism department has never implemented tourism-related projects in the municipality over the past several years despite the potentials of the upland locality to become a world-class tourist destination with its scenic tourist spots anchored on a well preserved environment.
Mayor Abraham B. Akilit said the role of the tourism department is to fully support tourism development and promotion of these spots to help spur the growth of rural tourism but it seems the priority projects of the agency do not lead to such scenario.
“The tourism department must refocus its priority projects from the already popular tourist destinations to the less developed and less promoted areas which have great potential of becoming premier tourist destinations in the country due to the significant improvement in infrastructure in such places like Bauko,” Mayor Akilit stressed.
The local chief executive used as an example the situation of Bauko which has become accessible to Sagada, one of the premier tourist destinations in the country, following the opening of the Sagada-Bauko road that was a convergence project where tourists can reach their desired destinations in the two municipalities in simply half an hour.
According to him, local tourism stakeholders remain optimistic the tourism department will start re-focusing on the implementation of its priority development and promotion projects to potential tourism areas to enhance the growth and development of remote villages in the different parts of the country.
Earlier, Bauko embarked on tourism as one of its major economic drivers as it has numerous tourist spots amidst a well-preserved environment coupled with peace-loving people in the communities.
He claimed the local government had been submitting numerous proposals for funding with the tourism department over the past several years but the agency considered these of less priority compared to the projects they are infusing in more developed tourist destinations around the country.
One of the projects they are still awaiting funding from the tourism department and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is the long-overdue rehabilitation and repair of the historic Mount Data hotel which has been in the doldrums for the past three years despite its having been closed by these same tourism agencies to supposedly undergo the desired rehabilitation.
He added that most of the infrastructure component of the town’s tourism industry continuous to be funded from different agencies but the need nowadays is the aggressive implementation of tourism-related projects to contribute in increasing economic activities in the countryside with more jobs and sources of livelihood for the people serving as the protectors of the town’s good environment.
Akilit is a known staunch advocate for the preservation and protection of the environment, the source of food and livelihood of the people in the communities through time without significantly damaging it. By HENT