TOURISM Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco inaugurated and turned over the first completed Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Bohol on Saturday.
That was the third TRA formally turned over to the local government unit after Medellin in Cebu in July and Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon in August.
The TRA in Bohol will serve as a pivotal point for tourists who want to explore the beautiful places in the province.
Through the TRA, tourists may pass through Dauis, which is considered a gateway to many tourist destinations in the province such as the Alona Beach in Panglao, Virgin Island Sandbar, Balicasag Island and the historic Baclayon Church.
Dauis, one of the two municipalities in Panglao Island, is home to numerous tourism offerings, including the Hinagdanan Cave, Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Bikini Beach, Bingag Beach, and San Isidro Beach.
“Here in Bohol, we view this gem of an island to be a source of national pride because you have, by your work, and by your example, established a sustainable eco-tourism destination where the public and private sector work hand-in-hand.
And as a result of this initiative, you are now globally renowned as the Philippines’ very first UNESCO Global Geopark,” Frasco said before local government officials and tourism stakeholders who attended the TRA inauguration.
During the inauguration ceremony, Bohol First District Congressman Edgardo Chatto lauded Frasco, noting that the tourism chief has “always been a source of inspiration.”
“She creates more life for our tourism industry,” Chatto said.
The lawmaker said the construction of the TRA in Bohol speaks well about the Boholano hospitality and the country’s readiness to accept partnerships with the international community by bringing more tourists.
The new tourist facility, according to him, will bring, in a way, convenience and comfort among travelers.
Chatto is one of the principal authors of the Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, which recognizes tourism as an indispensable component of the national economy and an industry of national interest and importance.
Meanwhile, Bohol Governor Erico Aristotle Aumentado said that the turnover of the first TRA in the province is a welcome development for the province as it enters “a new and exciting chapter” post-pandemic.
“Bohol’s tourism industry is now entering a new and exciting chapter. As we continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, we are entering a phase in which we must diversify our offerings for our guests and introduce our island paradise as more than just the white sand beaches of Panglao to the rolling slopes of Chocolate Hills,” Aumentado said in a message delivered by Provincial Administrator Aster Caberte.
The governor also expressed its gratitude to the DOT under the leadership of Frasco as well as to the Department’s infrastructure arm, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the funding source of the project.
For his part, Dauis Mayor Roman Bullen said the turnover ceremony is a significant milestone for Dauis as well as for the entire province.
On the sidelines of the inauguration, the Tourism chief led the distribution of tour guiding essential kits to some Bohol-based tour guides.
The inauguration of the first TRA in Bohol coincided with the groundbreaking ceremony of the soon-to-rise global luxury property JW Marriott Panglao Island Resort and Residences at Panglao Island.
“On behalf of the Department of Tourism, I congratulate the beautiful island province of Bohol, JW Marriott, and Apple One for this milestone in our tourism portfolio in the gem that is the island province of Bohol,” the tourism chief said in her address.
The Secretary stressed that the vision of the Marcos Administration is not just for the country to recover after the devastating effects of the pandemic but to transform and elevate the quality of tourism offerings for the Philippines as well as to push for investments to come to the country.
“With JW Marriott establishing its Resort and Residences here, this spells more economic opportunities for our fellow Filipinos, increased livelihood and the continuing contribution of tourism to our overall economic growth,” she added.