MANILA, Philippines – A town in Palawan is all set to become the Philippines’ first Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) under the initiative of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
Guiller Asido, chief operating officer of TIEZA, said San Vicente, Palawan has been chosen as the first flagship TEZ mainly for its pristine natural attractions of forests, islands, coves, and especially its 14.7 km shoreline, which is said to be the longest in the world.
“The TEZ benefits from its location at the convergence of transport networks. The completion of Itabiak Road, which leads to the Long Beach area, makes it easier to reach the TEZ by land from other towns in Palawan. The pier at Barangay Poblacion is being upgraded, but another docking area will be constructed at the TEZ,” he added.
TEZ forms part of the country’s flagship National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) which is aimed at improving the competitiveness of tourism products and developing sustainable tourisms destinations.
The project is expected to be ready within the year, in time for the projected opening of the San Vicente Airport by December.
“The San Vicente Airport, once operational, will be the main entry point for most tourists and will make San Vicente a good weekend destination for Manila residents,” Asido said.
Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez is optimistic the project will propel San Vicente as a major tourist destination and create additional employment for the community.
In consultation with the municipal government and property owners, an Integrated Tourism Master Plan (ITMP) for San Vicente was formulated to study the variety of tourism products possible in the area, taking into consideration property ownership and zonal values.
“The ITMP is now complete, and we are in the process of craftingan Investment Promotions Program that will make the public-private partnership in San Vicente attractive to private investors,” said Tourism Undersecretary Maria Victor Jasmin.
The NTDP, a framework to guide the DOT and other stakeholders to harness the potential of the tourism sector as an engine for sustainable growth, is part of the department’s thrust towards inclusive growth.
Part of the NTDP involves the upgrade of of secondary international airports such as Clark, Mactan, Davao and Iloilo as well as the rehabilitation of the primary gateway Ninoy Aquino International Airport 1 and 2.
The installation of night landing facilities, improvement, rehabilitation and expansion of 23 domestic airports, 21 seaports and 28 strategic connecting roads are also part of the plan.