More tourism investments for Sarangani pushed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 February) — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is pushing for the entry of more investments on tourism infrastructure and related development ventures in Sarangani province to enhance the area’s tourism potentials.

Maria Victoria Jasmin, DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Services and Regional Operations, said the province should work on improving the area’s basic infrastructure to complement with the ongoing tourism development initiatives in the area.

Jasmin issued the recommendation following a recent visit to the province’s top tourism resources and destinations, among them the famed white sand beaches in the coastal village of Gumasa in Glan town.

The site visit was facilitated by DOT Region 12 director Jose Cabulanan and Sarangani Tourism and Investment Promotion Center coordinator Larry Asparin.

Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao, also referred to as  Soccsksargen, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Jasmin cited the need for the construction and opening of more access roads within the province’s tourism areas, specifically on the way to its beaches and other local attractions.

“(We need) new roads for easy access and more food sources for every resort in Gumasa,” she said in a report released by the Sarangani Information Office.

The white sand beach area of Gumasa, which is home to several major resorts, is considered a “world class” resource and has been the province’s main tourist magnet.

The area, adopted by DOT and the Regional Development Council (RDC) as one of the region’s top destinations, has been attracting thousands of local as well as foreign tourists almost the entire year.

Every third week of May, the beaches of Gumasa play host to the two-day Sarangani Bay Festival dubbed as “Mindanao’s biggest beach party.”

Aside from investing on infrastructure, Jasmin said local stakeholders should intensify the promotion of the province’s tourist attractions in domestic and foreign tourism or travel markets.

“We should be aggressive in promoting tourism not only in Glan but in all towns of Sarangani,” she stressed.

Gumasa was earlier chosen by the DOT and RDC-12 as among the region’s banner tourist attractions due to its potential of becoming a world-class destination.

The others are the Mt. Apo nature park in Kidapawan City and the scenic Lake Sebu resort town of South Cotabato.

Based on a recommendation of the Regional Tourism Council, the three tourism destinations were chosen as models for the tourism investments and development of other tourism sites in the region. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)