Bohol and four other localities across the Philippines have been chosen by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as beneficiaries of a $-300 million (roughly P15.4 billion) official development assistance (ODA) from the World Bank for infrastructure, livelihood and disaster resiliency projects.
Allotment from the ODA loan will be made available to targeted tourism destinations through the DOT’s new TouRIST (Transforming Communities towards Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Tourism) program.
In a statement, the DOT said that it will extend support to Bohol, Siargao, Siquijor, Davao City and Samal Island under the program.
“With the support of the World Bank, we will enhance tourism infrastructure, livelihood, disaster risk reduction and crisis management, and tourism policy and regulation,” said DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
The DOT said that the five TouRIST sites were selected because of the rapid increase in tourism demand, potential for future development, lack of financing to address emerging capital investment needs, rich cultural heritage sites and biodiversity, and socio-economic impact for poverty alleviation.
Last week, the DOT convened the World Bank Group, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), local chief executives including Governor Arthur Yap and representatives from target destinations to kick-off the TouRIST program.
According to the DOT, proposed technical mission activities for the targeted destinations are set for October.
Meanwhile, Coron and El Nido in Palawan were also identified as TouRIST sites.
The two destinations however will get their allotment through an ODA from the Asian Development Bank.
“Both international funding agencies were enthusiastic about the DOT’s TouRIST program when it was presented to them, and have committed to give their financial assistance to it,” the DOT said. (RT)