Zamboanga Peninsula (ZamPen) is home to a handful of tourism destinations packed with potential for development. However, it will take a few years of planning and implementation in order to come up with a well-rounded tourism campaign that can compete with other regions in the country. Aside from the fact that ZamPen’s image is shrouded with negative publicity due to different incidents that concern safety and security, most tourism destinations in the region are underdeveloped and its potentials have not yet been maximized. Mainstream tourism destinations such as Dakak and Sta. Cruz Island has fared well in the national and international markets but other tourism destinations are lagging behind. The best way for the region to blossom into its full potential is to unify all stakeholders to strengthen the tourism sector and highlight the different tourism assets of ZamPen.
The Department of Tourism Region IX (DOT9) conducted a Benchmarking and Learning Mission to Eastern Visayas. The mission aims to replicate the success of Eastern Visayas’ campaign and package ZamPen tourisms own brand. Seventeen (17) participants including representatives from Local Government Units (LGU), tourism officers, tour operators, and key players in the tourism industry of Region IX went to different parts of Region VIII (Eastern Visayas). The two regions have a lot in common including the issues of security. However, Eastern Visayas was able to spark a tourism boom that was able to tap into the high-end expedition cruise market, enhance community-based eco-tourism sites, and improve farm tourism destinations.
Breaking through challenges was not easy for the Region 8 tourism sector but with a lot of hard work with capacity building, stakeholder involvement, LGU support, and community mobilization, the tourism stakeholders came full circle. Participants from Region 9 had a hands-on experience with the different attractions and were able to interact with people behind the success of Eastern Visayas tourism.
On the first day of the mission, participants were able to take a peek at the preparations for the arrival of L’Austral, a vessel of the Compagne du Ponant shipping company which brings more than 200 foreign excursionists from Australia, France, and other countries. Mr. Antonio Cinco, a consultant at the Department of Tourism 8, didn’t hold back in sharing their best practices that helped in the success of the curated tours which was anchored in carefully packaging the innate treasures of the culture, culinary, and traditions found in the Cuatro Islas of Leyte. The participants were also able to visit other flagship destinations such as the Sohoton Cove, Torpedo Boat Ride in Ulot River, Canaan Organic Farm, and the other side trips along the way.
Special thanks to: