ACT Catanduanes Kicks Off at Baras

With its initial leg in Baras town completed Feb. 24-25, the provincial government has started an advocacy campaign for tourism, dubbed as A.C.T. Catanduanes, aimed at crafting a comprehensive and wholistic tourism development plan.

The campaign, being managed by the Provincial Tourism Office in close coordination with the Department of Tourism Regional Office V, seeks to make the people aware of the whole gamut of the tourism industry and enhance their knowledge on how tourism could be adopted as a development strategy.

In the island’s surfing capital, 56 participants from the government and private tourism stakeholders attended the two-day activity wherein the first day is devoted for lecture-series and the second day for assessment and validation of tourist attractions within the municipality as identified by the participants.

Mayor Chito S. Chi expressed his thanks to the provincial government for choosing Baras as the venue of its first leg of the province-wide tourism advocacy campaign and likewise committed his support to the tourism program of the province in as much as his LGU has the tourism icon of the province, the Majestic waves at Puraran.

Tourism Promotions Officer Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia said the campaign is anchored on spreading "culture of tourism" to elevate the level of appreciation for tourism as a development strategy by the local chief executives. "Making the people aware of the tourism industry is important in gearing up for total development. We begin by educating the people on what tourism is all about, identifying the tourism potentials in their respective municipality and turning these potentials into tourism products", she added.

"We labeled the campaign A.C.T. to give it an action-driven appeal. We believe that this is the right time to gather our acts together and consolidate our best efforts in crafting a doable tourism program for the whole province. Now is the time to ride with the momentum in as much our leaders, especially Gov. Joseph "Boboy" Cua, are keen on developing tourism in the province. The advocacy campaign is just an opening salvo, an eye and mind opener to the local chief executives and the community as well, to make tourism a part of their priority agenda", Garcia emphasized.

Appreciating Cua’s drive to invigorate and strengthen the efforts to exploit the tourism potentials of the province, Garcia disclosed that provincial officials recently had an exploratory meeting with Camarines Sur Gov. LRay Villafuerte for a possible partnership in tourism ventures.

The next tourism awareness forum is set on March 23-24 in the municipality of San Andres, to be followed by Pandan in April in time with the celebration of the Dinahit Festival.

The schedule for the other municipalities is being coordinated by the Provincial Tourism Office with the municipal mayors. Funding for the project is a collaborative resource-sharing of the provincial and municipal government where the seminar-forum is being held.

At the conclusion of the project, the provincial government shall have produced a tourism development plan identifying the tourism potentials of the various municipalities, laying down the strategies on marketing and promotions, and recommending priority development areas for investments and possible public-private ventures or partnerships.

Source: Catanduanes Tribune - 10 March 2011