The Philippine Star

For­eign fun­ders of­fer loans for tourism dev’t

- By CATHER­INE TALAV­ERA Finance · Travel · Tourism · Business · Department of Tourism · Iloilo · Asian Development Bank · Coron · Palawan · organization · United States Agency for International Development · United States of America · Puerto Princesa City · Philippines · South Korea · World Bank Group · World Bank · Davao City · Davao · Island Garden City of Samal · United States Agency for International Development · Export-Import Bank of Korea · Bank of Korea · Bohol

Mul­ti­lat­eral lend­ing agen­cies are will­ing to fi­nance the devel­op­ment of the Philip­pine tourism sec­tor through loans, the Depart­ment of Tourism (DOT) said.

On the side­lines of the “Meet You in Iloilo” cam­paign launch, Tourism Sec­re­tary Ber­nadette Ro­mulo-Puyat said the agency is set to meet with the Asian Devel­op­ment Bank (ADB) this week

to dis­cuss a loan for in­fra­struc­ture and liveli­hood projects in Coron and El Nido in Palawan.

This is part of the DOT’s Trans­form­ing Com­mu­ni­ties to­wards Re­silient, In­clu­sive and Sus­tain­able Tourism (TouRIST) pro­gram, which aims to be a ve­hi­cle to im­ple­ment a co­or­di­nated ef­fort be­tween the var­i­ous gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­stru­men­tal­i­ties and re­al­ize sus­tain­able tourism devel­op­ment.

“What we will do with the ADB fund is we will pro­vide the sew­er­age sys­tem. We will be the ones to make the lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture,” Puyat said.

Apart from the ADB, Puyat said the United States Agency for In­ter­na­tional Devel­op­ment (USAID) and the Korean In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (KOICA) also ap­proached her for a pos­si­ble tourism loan grant.

“And then USAID al­ready ap­proached us. Then the other day also KOICA – “Why aren’t you com­ing to us, we want to help you in tourism,” Puyat said. “It’s a good prob­lem,” Puyat added.

The tourism chief said the Korean gov­ern­ment is eye­ing Puerto Princesa in Palawan as a tar­geted area for the loan grant.

“They want Puerto Princesa which makes sense be­cause of the air­port,” Puyat said.

In 2012, the Philip­pines was able to ob­tain a $71 mil­lion loan from the Ex­port-Im­port Bank of Korea (KEXIM) for the up­grade and devel­op­ment of the Puerto Princesa Air­port.

The World Bank Group ear­lier made avail­able $300 mil­lion for the pro­gram, par­tic­u­larly for the ar­eas of Bo­hol, Siar­gao, Siqui­jor, Davao City and Sa­mal Is­land, as part of the TouRIST pro­gram.

“World Bank chose it based on the tourism de­mand of cities... Be­cause of in­creas­ing tourist de­mand they need cap­i­tal and lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture,” Puyat said.

The five TouRIST sites were se­lected be­cause of the rapid in­crease in tourism de­mand, po­ten­tial for fu­ture devel­op­ment, lack of fi­nanc­ing to ad­dress emerg­ing cap­i­tal in­vest­ment needs, rich cul­tural her­itage sites and bio­di­ver­sity and so­cioe­co­nomic im­pact for poverty alle­vi­a­tion.

“With the sup­port of the World Bank, we will en­hance tourism in­fra­struc­ture, liveli­hood, dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion and cri­sis man­age­ment and tourism pol­icy and reg­u­la­tion,” Puyat said.

The TouRIST pro­gram of the DOT will be su­per­vised by the Tourism Co­or­di­nat­ing Coun­cil (TCC).

It added that a pro­posed tech­ni­cal mis­sion sched­ule for the five tar­geted des­ti­na­tions is set for this month.

Tourism Un­der­sec­re­tary Ben­ito Beng­zon ear­lier said that the TCC ex­pressed their sup­port for the DOT’s new projects, such as the TouRIST pro­gram.

“We are elated that the mem­bers of the coun­cil are unan­i­mous in ex­press­ing their con­tin­ued sup­port to the afore­cited projects and ini­tia­tives of the depart­ment,” Beng­zon ear­lier said.

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