MANILA — To further improve tourism in the region, the Department of Tourism is setting a higher budget this year for Mindanao.
Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said in a Philippine Star report that Mindanao has secured a 40-percent share or P340 million from the P851.22-million Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) budget for tourism development in 2012.
For the construction and implementation of eco-tourism projects, a P30-million budget was also secured.
The eco-tourism projects were aimed at helping community-based tourism to gain sustainability and protecting endangered marine species.
The projects are focused in one of the world’s major nesting sites for marine turtles, the Tawi-tawi’s Turtle Islands.
Several proposals endorsing the province of Surigao del Sur including a provision om providing road access and support facilities for the Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River and the Britannia Islets jump-off point, were also endorsed by MinDA.
“Surigao del Sur is host to a number of Mindanao’s key tourist destinations such as the Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig City, touted as the “Niagara Falls of the Philippines,” Hinatuan’s Enchanted River, which is unique to the country, and the becomingly popular Britania Group of Islands in San Agustin,” said Antonino.
She, however warned of excessive eco-tourism promotion at the expense of the environment.
“While Mindanao is blessed with natural resources that make ecotourism as one of its major economic drivers for growth, tourism development however, must not be pursued at the expense of our environment,” she added.