Partnership boosts tourism in Yolanda areas
A foreign-funded program aimed at rebuilding the tourism industry in Yolanda-affected areas in Cebu is set to go full blast this year.
Bantayan, Bogo City, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Medellin, San Remigio and Santa Fe will benefit from the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED).
These areas bore the brunt of typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.
The program is being implemented by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Canadian International Development Agency.
Under the program, each local government unit (LGU) will receive P1.5 million for trainings, seminars and workshops to strengthen their workforce.
LGUs were required to identify the sector that they want to be trained.
Most of them want to train their tour guides, said Josephine Tonilon, head of the livelihood training program services division of the Cebu Provincial Public Employment Services Office (PESO).
Tonilon said they hope to get DILG’s approval by June for the workforce development plan.
“Once the Provincial PESO’s workforce development plan is approved, the funds will be downloaded to the LGUs,” she told Cebu Daily News in a telephone interview yesterday.
Available trainings are for hotel, restaurant, resort and tour guiding sectors.
Northern Cebu is part of the third batch of this national program.
Others are Palawan, Albay, northern Iloilo, Aklan, Negros Occidental and Oriental, Siquijor and Davao del Norte.
Trainings will end on March 31, 2016.
Mel Allego, LGSP-LED Cebu project manager, said the trainings will support entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses.
“To hasten economic recovery in northern Cebu, the proposed project will seek to increase tourist arrivals by 10 percent (by 2016), and attract investments and financing for micro, small and medium-sized businesses, especially agriculture and tourism,” he told reporters during the weekly Kapistorya forum at the Capitol yesterday.
Allego said the program seeks to generate P223.6 million in investments, build 200 additional hotel or resort rooms in the area, and establish solid waste and wastewater treatment facilities.
It also seeks to generate 200 employment opportunities by 2016.
Allego said the LGSP-LED head office may include southern Cebu in the next batch of areas that will be covered by the project.
“As of now, they would just like to try northern Cebu as a pilot area for Cebu province,” he said.
The program has six components: the establishment of Negosyo Centers which will assist businesses; the development of so-called tourism circuits; workforce development; destination marketing; and, investment promotion.
The program, for example, may train motorcycle-for-hire drivers on how to deal with tourists.
The program also hopes to help organize the local business sectors into different groups.
/with ADMU Intern Shaneika Lim
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