DOT inaugurates first Tourist Rest Area in Bohol Island

Panglao Island, Bohol– The Department of Tourism (DOT) led by Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco formally inaugurated and turned over the first completed Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in the Province of Bohol on Saturday (Dec. 2).

The first-ever TRA in Bohol will cater to tourists passing through the town of Dauis, which serves as a gateway to multiple tourist destinations in the province such as the famed Alona Beach in Panglao, Virgin Island Sandbar, Balicasag Island, and the historic Baclayon Church.

Dauis, which is one out of the two municipalities comprising Panglao Island, is also home to numerous tourism offerings including the Hinagdanan Cave, Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Bikini Beach, Bingag Beach, and San Isidro Beach.

“Here in Bohol, we view this gem of an island to be a source of national pride because you have, by your work, and by your example, established a sustainable eco-tourism destination where the public and private sector work hand in hand. And as a result of this initiative, you are now globally renowned as the Philippines’ very first UNESCO Global Geopark,” Secretary Frasco said before local government officials and tourism stakeholders in attendance at the TRA inauguration.

“I congratulate all of you, all of our officials, including our governor for this monumental achievement,” the tourism chief added.

 

Local officials applaud DOT initiatives under Frasco

During the inauguration ceremony, Bohol First District Congressman Edgardo Chatto lauded the leadership of Secretary Frasco, noting that the tourism chief has “always been a source of inspiration.”

“She creates more life for our tourism industry,” Congressman Chatto said.

“Let me congratulate Secretary Frasco for launching this project. Maybe it’s small for some, but it is big in terms of impact to the entire tourism industry,” he added.

The lawmaker said that the construction of the TRA in Bohol speaks well about the Boholano hospitality and the country’s readiness to accept partnerships with the international community by bringing more tourists. The new tourist facility, according to him, will bring, in a way, convenience and comfort among travelers.

“Once you have these Tourist Rest Areas in many areas of the country, I am pretty sure that domestic as well as international travelers will really be amazed at the readiness of the country,” he said.

Congressman Chatto is one of the principal authors of the Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, which recognizes tourism as an indispensable component of the national economy and an industry of national interest and importance.

Meanwhile, Bohol Provincial Governor Erico Aristotle Aumentado said that the turnover of the first completed TRA in the province is a welcome development for the province as it enters “a new and exciting chapter” post-pandemic.

“Bohol’s tourism industry is now entering a new and exciting chapter. As we continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we are entering a phase in which we must diversify our offerings for our guests and introduce our island paradise as more than just the white sand beaches of Panglao to the rolling slopes of Chocolate Hills,” Governor Aumentado said in a message read by Provincial Administrator Aster Caberte, who represented him during the event.

The governor also expressed its gratitude to the DOT under the leadership of Secretary Frasco as well as to the Department’s infrastructure arm, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the funding source of the project.

“The Provincial Government of Bohol, expresses its deepest gratitude to the Department of Tourism, especially headed by Secretary Christina Frasco, and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority for this project. We aim to elevate Bohol’s edge as a prime tourist destination through various investments, both public and private,” he said.

For his part, Dauis Mayor Roman Bullen said that the turnover ceremony is a significant milestone for the municipality of Dauis as well as for the entire Bohol province.

“I could say that the Department of Tourism and TIEZA have chosen the best strategic location for the tourist area since our municipality is located in the sweet spot, which is the middle of Tagbilaran City and municipality of Panglao,” he said.

On the sidelines of the inauguration, Secretary Frasco also led the distribution of kits tour guiding essentials to some Bohol-based tour guides.


More investors pick Bohol

The inauguration of the first TRA in Bohol also coincided with the groundbreaking ceremony of the soon-to-rise global luxury property JW Marriott Panglao Island Resort and Residences at the scenic Panglao Island, with Secretary Frasco likewise joining the local government heads of Bohol and some private stakeholders as the guest of honor at the momentous occasion.

“On behalf of the Department of Tourism, I congratulate the beautiful island province of Bohol, JW Marriott, and Apple One for this milestone in our tourism portfolio in the gem that is the island province of Bohol. The breaking ground of JW Marriott in Bohol signals global confidence in the Philippines’ continuing resurgence and emergence in the global tourism market,” the tourism chief said in her address.

The Secretary stressed that the vision of the Marcos Administration is not just for the country to recover after the devastating effects of the pandemic but to transform and elevate the quality of tourism offerings for the Philippines as well as to push for investments to come to the country.

“With JW Marriott establishing its Resort and Residences here, this spells more economic opportunities for our fellow Filipinos, increased livelihood, and the continuing contribution of tourism to our overall economic growth,” she added.

“These investments in the Philippines will also signal to the rest of the world that the country is ready to take its place as Asia’s next tourism powerhouse,” the Secretary continued.

She also assured local stakeholders that the current administration will continue to strengthen the foundation for tourism by investing in infrastructure, connectivity, digitalization, and introducing innovation to the country’s overall tourism portfolio.

“We join the people of Bohol in celebration of this milestone for the island, and we continue to express our confidence in Bohol’s potential as a continuing pillar for sustainable ecotourism,” she concluded.

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