Senator Sonny Angara said government shouldn’t stop at Boracay and must proceed to other famous tourist areas that need preventive improvements but in a manner that will not require their total closure.
“The emerging success story that is the Boracay rehabilitation can be the template in rejuvenating other tourist spots but without the economic dislocation caused by the six-month shutdown of the world’s best island,” Angara said.
“The emerging success story that is the Boracay rehabilitation can be the template in rejuvenating other tourist spots but without the economic dislocation caused by the six-month shutdown of the world’s best island.”
The seasoned legislator urged government to identify which areas should follow where transportation facilities like roads, ports, airports, and sewerage and environmental infrastructure like sewage must be expanded and improved.
“The idea is to apply preemptive measures on tourism areas that show early signs of distress before it becomes a full-blown crisis that will be costlier to correct. We can develop without being disruptive,” the veteran lawmaker stressed.
“Kung maaga pa lang masimulan na ang pagpapaganda, hindi na mangangailangan ng radical measures para ayusin ito. Habang maliit pa ang problema, gamutin na para hindi na makaapekto sa kabuhayan ng libu-libong pamilya,” the senator added.
Another must, he added, is the establishment of hospitals and clinics well-equipped and adequately-staffed to treat emergency cases.
Angara noted that with many Philippine islands landing in the world’s best list, the publicity it creates translates to more tourist arrivals.
“There should be constant improvement of our facilities, so our carrying capacity will grow with arrivals. We must always be ahead of the curve instead of being overwhelmed and underprepared which, in the long run, will be damaging to the ecosystem,” he said.
“Let us pour billions on them. Tourism is a P2 trillion a year industry. It accounts for 12 percent of the GDP. We must protect and nurture this major source of national income,” Angara added.
“Tourism is a P2 trillion a year industry. It accounts for 12 percent of the GDP. We must protect and nurture this major source of national income.”
The Finance committee vice chairperson, who is tasked to sponsor and defend DOT’s budget, said funds for “tourism renaissance” projects can be funded through regular appropriations in the budget of the DOT, plus the infrastructure budget of the DPWH, and the ecological improvement allocations in the DENR budget.
But there are off-budget sources which can be tapped, Angara pointed out. “Halimbawa na lang yung travel tax collection na aabot ng P6.7 billion next year. Kalahati nito mapupunta sa mga proyekto ng TIEZA.”