The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) have taken the first steps in the implementation of the Tourism Enterprise Zones (TEZ), with a groundbreaking ceremony for a TIEZA Field Office in San Vicente, Palawan, the site of the first flagship TEZ under the country’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP).
“San Vicente , Palawan was identified by TIEZA as its first flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) mainly for its pristine natural attractions of forests, islands, coves, and most specially its 14.7-kilometer shoreline, which is said to be the longest in the world,” announced TIEZA chief operating officer Guiller B. Asido.
“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 Tourism Enterprise Zone 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. Finally, 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, since the flight is only 1 and a half hours from Manila, “ adds Atty Guiller. The TIEZA COO expects the TIEZA Field office in San Vicente to be completed within the year, in time for the projected operationalization of the San Vicente airport by December 2016.
The flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) Program is a joint initiative of the DOT and TIEZA to actively seek out sites with viable tourism potential, have them masterplanned, and develop them into sustainable tourism destinations, as per the Philippine National Tourism Development Plan, to improve marketing competitiveness of the Philippine tourism product.
Palawan Governor Jose Chavez Alvarez expressed appreciation, on behalf of the province, to the DOT and TIEZA as the project is expected to launch San Vicente as a major tourist destination and create thousands of additional jobs. He said that the TEZ will definitely help create employment and economic activities for the local communities.
DOT Undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin said that, in consultation with the municipal government and property owners, an Integrated Tourism Master Plan (ITMP) for San Vicente, Palawan 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 crafting an Investment Promotions Program that will make the public-private partnership in San Vicente attractive to private investors,” added Usec Jasmin.