Region 12 to push tourism in BIMP-EAGA

The province will celebrate its 40th charter day on July 18 with a colorful parade and street dancing activities.

Tourism and other government officials, travel and tour operators, hotel and resort owners, and others involved in the tourism industry from all over BIMP-EAGA are expected to attend the conference.

Southwestern Mindanao has among its tourist attractions the scenic Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, the white sand beaches of Glan, Sarangani, and the Mt. Apo Ecopark in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

The region includes the cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato and the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.

The cities of Zamboanga and General Santos had also expressed intention to host the meeting but it was awarded to Koronadal.

Tourism Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab earlier expressed optimism that Southwestern Mindanao could become a major tourism drawer in the BIMP-EAGA cluster, noting its strategic location in the sub-regional growth corridor.

But he acknowledged the problem of peace and order in the area because of the war being waged by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front although it is now talking peace with government. He said, though, that if peace will reign in the region, a tourism boom could be expected.

He noted that the region has a well equipped seaport and international airport in General Santos.

He urged local tour operators to go into adventure and nature tourism and highlight the exotic culture of the region in luring in foreign tourists.

BIMP-EAGA was launched in Davao City in 1996, with a vision that “official agencies and business sectors of the member countries would interact in a virtual borderless trading area and growth zone that would link and expand their economies with a minimum of formalities.”