DOT-8 conducts workshop on Tourism Plan Preparation

The tourism stakeholders of the three provinces of Samar gathered for the Samar Island Tourism Master Development Plan Workshop from March 30 to 31 at the New Maqueda Bay Hotel in Catbalogan City. The two-day activity was organized by the Department of Tourism – Regional Office 8 (DOT-RO8).

The Department of Tourism also brought along a team of experts from the Berkman International Incorporated (BII), a private professional consulting and project management firm contracted by the DOT for the purpose of preparing the Tourism Master Development Plan (TMDP). The BII team was led by former DOT Undersecretary Dr. Evelyn Pantig and also included Professor Reil Cruz, the Marketing Specialist and the Dean of the Asian Institute of Management; Dr. Victoria Apuan, a Sociologist and Gender Specialist; Ms. Elizabeth Espino, a Landscape Architect and Land Use Planner and Ms. Agatha Gatbonton who is the BII Product Development Specialist.

The workshop was meant to assist the three provinces in the preparation of their respective Tourism Master Development Plans (TMDP) on which the tourism plan for the entire island shall be based on. It was designed according to the project’s objective of creating a Samar Island Tourism Master Development Plan (SITMDP) that balances economic development and environmental preservation. DOT and BII endeavours to come up with a framework that will veer towards community-based empowerment that values the preservation of the area’s natural resources and cultural heritage.

To attain these objectives, the first workshop had each province identifying the existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in their area. This exercise enabled the participants to identify traits, resources and policies that could hinder or facilitate their growth. It also enabled them to identify certain circumstances that they should take advantage of, avoid or prepare for. These learnings were taken into consideration in the second workshop as the participants formulated their Mission, Vision, Goals and Objectives. The last workshop was the Selection/Identification and Reprioritization of Tourism Development Areas.

Based on the workshop inputs, the SITMDP shall be formulated containing other key information including an an assessment of how existing policies, resources, constraints and threats affect each province’s potential growth. The plan will also cover a wide range of data ranging from a conceptual design for the Tourism Areas for Development (TDA) including a development strategy and targets with timeframe and cost, to an investment portfolio for the identified TDAs, Strategic Destination Areas or Tourism Enterprise Zones. A marketing strategy, implementation strategy and monitoring and evaluation system are also incorporated in the plan.

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