Western Visayas will benefit from a further boost in tourism development following the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Antique, and Aklan to implement three tourism initiatives as part of the Government of Canada’s Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development (LGSP-LED) project.
The Government of Canada has allocated PhP 18 million for the implementation of these tourism initiatives in Region 6, which will support local government efforts and their private sector partners in improving the competitiveness of their tourism industry through a simplified business climate, investment promotion, tourism circuit development and destination marketing, and workforce development.
“Canada recognizes that one of the challenges facing this country is to make economic growth more inclusive for communities and local governments. Through Canada’s LGSP-LED and under the leadership of DILG, the initiatives in Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Antique, and Aklan are expected to boost the competitiveness and efficiency of the local tourism economy, attract investments, generate increased revenues for the LGUs as well as jobs for the poor in these areas ,” Luke Myers, head of development cooperation of the Embassy of Canada said during the signing of the memorandum of agreement here.
“Let me take this opportunity to thank the people of Canada, the Government of Canada for their continuing and long-standing support, which I have had the privilege to appreciate since the first time I was elected as Governor in 1992,” said Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor. Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon also expressed his gratitude to DILG and optimism for the LGUs to achieve the goals of the projects.
Through the MOA, LGUs and DILG committed to collaborate for growing their local economies through tourism development. Partner-LGUs are targeting an aggregate of over PhP 2 billion in new investments and nearly 700 new direct jobs in the tourism sector by 2016.
The local project in northern Panay (Aklan and Antique) focuses on sustainable tourism development, taking advantage of Boracay as a popular destination to also spur economic activities in nearby communities through excursions outside the island.
For Negros Occidental, the local project aims to strengthen public-private partnerships, build on its strong organic farming movement for tourism growth, and develop Bacolod-Talisay-Silay as a major hub for culture, creativity, and innovation in the province.
On the other hand, for Yolanda-affected Northern Iloilo, the local project focuses on rebuilding economic opportunities in the local tourism industry.PIA-6