TIEZA Chief Operations Officer Pocholo Paragas disclosed during the recent Department of Tourism (DOT – CAR)- led Cordillera Tourism Summit here that the TIEZA board approved on November 28, 2019 a P400 million fund for the rehabilitation of Burnham Park.
The TIEZA also allotted for the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel P86.25 million infrastructure budget and Capital Expenditure of P29.97M for the procurement of consultancy services for detailed architectural design and for the procurement of construction services for the rehabilitation design.
Paragas explained that under TIEZA’s Project DREAMS (Destination, Restoration, Eco – sustainability, Agri-tourism, Medical tourism and Security and accessibility), priority is given to construction of tourism infrastructure projects of national interest and significance.
Guided by Ambisyon Natin 2040, the Philippine Development Plan 2017 - 2022 and the Philippine Tourism Development Plan 2016 – 2022, TIEZA is also focusing on Sustainable Tourism Infrastructure Development.
“Sustainable tourism means benefit for the present and future generations especially for countries that showcase their national assets; sustainable and responsible tourism should always be the goal,” he stressed.
As of December 2018, TIEZA completed 26 projects while 113 more projects are undergoing construction, he added.
Highlighting the significant contribution of the tourism industry to the country’s economy and on employment generation, Paragas said TIEZA is also working to invest on more projects through the establishment of a Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund.
At the moment, their project funding only comes from the 50 percent share from the travel tax, a levy imposed by the PH government on individuals who are leaving the country, irrespective of their place of destination.
TIEZA is receiving around P30 Billion worth of project request per annum and as their share from the travel tax also covers their administrative cost, they can only fund around P1.1 billion worth of infrastructure development projects per year, he added.
In 2018, he disclosed that around P6.36B was collected in travel taxes where aside from the TIEZA share, 40 percent goes to the Commission on Higher Education to support tourism – related programs and courses while 10% goes to National Commission on Culture and the Arts to support the preservation, conservation and protection of Philippine cultural heritage. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)
By Carlito C. Dar