Samal Circumferential Road to spur tourism –DOT exec

December 21, 2015 12:41 pm 

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Dec. 20 (PNA) — Bumpy roads leading to tourism sites in Samal Island, Davao Oriental may soon be a thing of the past, a tourism official has said.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato said that tourists will find it easier to get to tourism sites quickly and easily with the completion of the Samal Circumferential Road by early next year.

The Samal Circumferential Road, Boncato said, is the island’s main project under the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program Convergence (TRIPC) of the DOT and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“We have selected the circumferential road as our main TRIPC project because we would like our resorts to be connected with its attractions,” Boncato told reporters in an interview.

“Soon we could have a smooth ride going to the resorts,” he said, noting that tourists have to get to the resorts via banca. “We would like to have a land-based transport system so that there would be more access for residents and tourists.”

Boncato stressed that the development of the Samal Circumferential Road is considered to be one of the agency’s major TRIPC projects.

To recall, a total of PhP 60.48 billion has been allotted for TRIPC projects which involve the construction and concreting of tourism roads in 15 regions in the country from 2011 until 2015.

It covers 2,502 kilometers in various parts of the country — 922 km of national roads and 1,573 km of local government roads.

For the Samal Circumferential Road alone, which is expected to be completed in January next year, around PhP 875 million was spent for the project.

“Since we started TRIPC, Region 11 has received the highest amount in terms of funding in development of roads. It bodes well for the future of the region,” Boncato said.

“Because almost all of the provinces in the region are now enjoying funding from the program, DOT and local government units will have to identify roads that lead to tourist destinations that require prioritization. We have to prioritize because there are already existing tourism activities in the area,” he added.

DOT Region 11 Director Roberto Alabado, meanwhile, said that Samal Island is the top destination for tourists who visit Davao.

“Last quarter, in Davao, compared to last year’s same quarter, we had an increase of six percent. We know that to tourists who arrive in Davao, their priority is to visit Samal,” Alabado said.

The Davao region acquired the most number of tourist arrivals in Mindanao with 2.52-million visitors in 2014. This is followed by Northern Mindanao, CARAGA, Soccsksargen, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). (PNA)

SCS/ANP

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