South Cotabato allots P2.4M for tourism planning

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/30 January) — The provincial government of South Cotabato has set aside some P2.4 million for the crafting of the comprehensive tourism master plans of seven municipalities in the province.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Friday they have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Region 12 to facilitate activities that would lead to the drafting of the tourism master plans and related development strategies.

She said the initiative will involve the municipalities of Surallah,Tampakan, Tantangan, Banga, Polomolok, Tupi and Lake Sebu.

The allocation for the initiative will be drawn from the equity of the province’s Supplemental Budget No. 3 last year, she said.

“DOT-12 will mainly supervise the preparation of the tourism strategic plans of these municipalities,” she said in a statement.

Aside from the crafting of the tourism plans, the governor said they will also develop a site master plan for a proposed ecological park (eco-park) within the famed seven waterfalls of Lake Sebu town.

She said the eco-park was among the improvements that they prioritized this year for Lake Sebu, which is considered as the province’s tourism capital.

“We believe that the improvement of the province’s tourism industry would create greater impact on economic development through job generation and other opportunities,” she said.

With the crafting of the tourism master plans, Fuentes said they are hoping to establish a new tourism circuit or cluster that will cover the agri-industrial towns of Polomolok, Tupi and Tantangan.

The governor said the initiative will focus on the identification of the viable tourism sites or attractions in the proposed circuit and setting of strategies for their development and promotion.

She said it will also determine the immediate and long-term needs of the area’s tourism sector, specifically in terms of accommodation facilities.

Tupi, which is dubbed the province’s fruit capital, is home to a number of untapped tourism resources and established attractions, among them the tarsier sanctuary in Barangay Linan and several swimming resorts.

The town, along with Polomolok, hosts the province’s famous landmark — Mt. Matutum — that hosts several potential ecotourism sites.

Polomolok, which is famous for the vast pineapple plantations of fruit giant Dole Philippines Inc., hosts several swimming resorts, fruit plantations and a golf course.

Tantangan town has a number of undeveloped waterfalls and emerging spring resorts that has been drawing attention from local tourists. (MindaNews)