Caraga needs better roads to bring tourists in, says tourism official

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/4 July) – To attract more tourists, Caraga needs better roads leading to the different tourist destinations in the region, the regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) acknowledged.

Director Leticia Tan stated that most of the highly commended tourist destinations in the region – like Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig and Enchanted River in Hinatuan, both in Surigao del Sur – need better roads to facilitate the increase of tourist arrivals.

“Road construction is definite priority. Better roads going to the areas lead to more arrivals which in turn would bring the towns better economic gains,” said Tan.

She acknowledged it is still a big task since many roads leading to the different tourist destinations need huge funding for repair or construction.

“We know that the process is slow but surely we will get there. I have made requests and recommendations and we hope that by 2013 more of the roads will be finished,” she said.

During a visit to the majestic Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig and Enchanted River in Hinatuan, several of the guests complained about the poor road conditions.

One of the visitors, medical representative Sharon Latar, noted that the sites are totally world class and that these are incomparable but would think twice in returning to the area since it would damage their family car. Unless one is driving a rugged vehicle, she said one would have to risk his or her cars in visiting the sites.

“The highway travel is convenient. The problem comes in when you take the turn to the barangay roads going to the sites,” Latar said, noting that several of her counterparts complained that their cars encountered problems, like flat tires and engine failures, along the way because of the bad roads.

With the expected increase in tourist arrivals this year and by 2013, provincial and municipal tourism personnel hope they will have better roads soon so the economy would improve with the tourism boom.

Statistics provided by DOT Caraga points out an increase in tourist arrivals by 21 percent in 2011 as compared to 2010, mostly due to domestic tourists. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)