Davao City to explore alternate tourism destination in the highlands

February 6, 2015 12:59 am 

DAVAO CITY, Feb. 5 — The city government and private sector involved in the tourism industry here plans to establish alternate destination sites in the highlands connecting the Bukidnon-Davao-Cotabato (BUDACO) areas.

In an interview with Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director for Davao Region Roberto Alabado III, who said that after series of meetings with concerned authorities between Regions X, XI, XII on exploring collaborative plans for the tourism development of BUDACO, a Memorandum of Understanding is being finalized with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

He said the agencies involved are the tourism offices of local government units of the three areas – the DOT, DENR, NCIP and the private sector.

"We need to have an MOU that would involve the NCIP as the area covers ancestral domain of indigenous peoples and also the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) for environmental concerns," he said.

Davao City has already approved sites for tourism zone in the area that will be covered namely barangays in Baganihan and Salumay in Marilog District.

Alabado said there will be a comprehensive plan for this that would provide details on how to develop it into an eco-tourism destination.

"The area is perfect with all the ingredients present for homestay, resorts, restaurants, the IP communities and the climate," he said.

Tourists who will visit either for day tour or overnight stay will get to experience the view, the wild life and fresh air, Alabado said.

He said there is an existing group composed of the BUDACO members who have established small resorts and cottages in the area and even put up zip line or trails for trekking.

"We will collaborate with them for this kind of development," he said.

However, Alabado said they need to create a plan so that it can be developed into a tourist destination even as he said that they need to be very careful in protecting the local culture and protecting the eco-system.

In conceptualizing the plan, he said these are among the areas that must be primarily considered.

Structures for instance must be of low impact because of the fragile environment and whatever developments be introduced in the area must conform with the law vis-a-vis tourism policies and the environment.

He said also included in the task is to conduct inventory of the different facilities and structures in the area and to also make necessary corrections for those existing structures that might not be in accordance with what is allowable.

Davao City tourism head Lisette Marquez on the other hand said they need to develop other sites and we saw the areas in the city's third district that has the potential and yet not seen by many of our visitors.

With our tourism development zone, she said they need to coordinate with the indigenous peoples in the area and whatever projects that will be put in must be one that is sustainable.

She said the concerned agencies involved welcome the development putting emphasis that environmental and cultural preservation must be considered in coming up with the tourism development plan. (PNA)

LAP/LCM/DIGNA D. BANZON/LDP

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