Promote other PH tourist destinations after Boracay closure, says Angara
The government should aggressively promote other Philippine tourist destinations, especially in poorer areas, as the six-month closure of Boracay island begins, Senator Sonny Angara urged on Thursday.
“Habang sumasailalim sa rehabilitasyon ang Boracay, napakarami pang ibang magaganda at world-class destination sa bansa na dapat nating ipagmalaki. This is an opportune time to help bring our other tourist spots to international recognition, which would continue to entice tourists to visit the Philippines,” Angara said in a statement.
The senator has cited Sorsogon, Leyte, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga, Catanduanes and Siquijor, which he said are among the poorest provinces with the potential to become “tourist magnets” because of their beautiful beaches.
He also called on the provinces’ local government to invest in tourism and develop the necessary infrastructure to aid tourists.
“We should improve our road networks and fix our airports. Even Baler, my hometown, could attract more tourists if the establishment of the airport could be fast-tracked,” Angara said.
He stressed that a boost in the tourism industry would generate more jobs that would help alleviate poverty in these provinces.
“Talagang nakalilikha ng trabaho at kabuhayan ang turismo para sa mga lokalidad. Kahit iyong mga hindi nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral ay maaaring kumita sa pagtu-tour guide o sa pagtitinda ng souvenir at iba pa. Malaking tulong ang turismo upang sila ay umangat sa buhay,” the solon said.
Angara, one of the authors of the Tourism Act of the Philippines, however, stressed that these emerging tourist hotspots should be prepared for the expected surge of visitors.
He also lauded the government’s initiatives to check the status of other beach destinations—including El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Siargao in Surigao del Norte, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, and Panglao Island in Bohol—if these are environmentally compliant.
“Dapat ay magsilbing aral na sa lokal na turismo ang sinapit ng Boracay. We call on government agencies and local officials to strictly implement environmental laws and local ordinances so as to ensure their sustainable development,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the closure of the famous tourist spot for six months starting April 26 in a bid to rehabilitate the island he previously called a “cesspool” due to its s its garbage and sewage problem. /muf
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