South Cotabato speeds up tourism infra projects

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/03 December) — The provincial government of South Cotabato is pushing for the completion within the next two years of its ongoing tourism development projects in a bid to enhance the area’s thriving tourism sector.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the local government is pouring in additional investments next year for various tourism development initiatives, which includes the opening of new tourism circuits, access roads and related facilities.

She specifically cited the ongoing construction of the P120-million circumferential road that will connect the famed seven waterfalls of Lake Sebu town.

The project, which is funded by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), is due for completion next year.

TIEZA opened last October the bidding for the concreting component of the road project, which was aimed to improve access to the seven falls and other tourism areas in Lake Sebu.

Fuentes said they are currently finalizing plans for the development of the canopy walk and installation of cable cars along the seven waterfalls as well as the opening of the lakeshore boulevard in Lake Sebu.

She said they are also working on the operationalization of the Lake Lahit tourism facility and the opening of the small-scale mining leg in T’boli town, fruit park in Tupi town, and the biodiversity corridor of Tampakan and Tupi towns.

“We will also open next year additional facilities at our improved Productivity and Technology Center (Protech),” she said.

The Protech Center, which is located in Koronadal City, hosts a “pasalubong center” and a trading area for various local products.

Fuentes said these initiatives are all aimed to attract more tourists to the province in the next two years.

The local government recorded nearly 300,000 tourist arrivals from January to September and it expects the figures to further increase until yearend.

Anna Liza Mondejar, tourism officer of the province’s arts, culture, tourism, sports and museum promotions unit, said the province’s tourist arrivals reached a total of 293,727 during the first three quarters of the year.

She said the total domestic tourists or visitors reached 291,515 while the foreigners totalled 2,212.

Tourists who opted for overnight stay in the area reached 169,781, of whom 682 were foreigners.

For the same day visitors or excursionists, those from the province reached 110,264 while visitors from other areas reached 12,162. Foreign visitors reached 1,520.

Lake Sebu, the province’s banner tourism site, was the most visited area, followed by the tarsier sanctuary in Barangay Linan in Tupi, Mt. Matutum in Polomolok, Lake Holon and Mt. Melebingoy in T’boli. (MindaNews)