MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/30 July) – The private sector is planning to develop sports tourism in Bukidnon with nature, culture, agriculture and adventure as the primary come-ons for tourists.
Maite Abellanosa, chair of the tourism sector of the newly-formed Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told MindaNews they will launch in November BOAST or Bukidnon Outdoor Adventures Sports Tourism as their counterpart to the annual Kaamulan Festival.
“Tourism brings in the tourists today, real investment tomorrow,” Roberto Tinsay of the Construction and Real Estate Builders Association-Bukidnon chapter said.
Tinsay, also vice president for membership of the Chamber added that tourism has a domino effect on the development of other sectors.
The group is organizing the Bukidnon Highland Games as a door opener to local destinations that have already attracted domestic visitors but have never been hyped in tourism campaigns.
Abellanosa cited several sports adventure events including night run, paragliding and mountain run as part of the games.
She said the private-sector led initiatives will supplement Kaamulan since the annual cultural festival alone will not suffice to increase Bukidnon’s share of the tourism market.
“The festival is only a part of tourism in the province. There should be development of destinations in the province as some popular destinations are not worth it,” she said.
But she added that they need to do it in the context of public private partnership, adding that they need to work with the provincial tourism office and the local tourism offices.
Tinsay said the initiatives to succeed, select sites should be included in the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), which is mandated to generate new investments in the tourism sector by granting fiscal and other incentives.
He said they have considered three initial sites for TIEZA namely, Bukidnon Forest Inc.’s Woodstock, Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, and the 500-hectare Bukidnon Tree Park.
He said they are willing to work under mutually beneficial terms with different sectors, including the indigenous peoples who claim the forests as their ancestral domain. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)