LEGAZPI CITY (07-Dec-2012/PNA) – The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Bicol was optimistic to achieve its target of 15-million foreign and domestic tourist arrivals by 2016 with the construction of a two big road projects in Albay in 2013.
The target, presented during the Bicol Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting at the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) was based on the new tourism road map corridor of Albay Masbate Sorsogon tourism alliance (ALMASORTA) of Albay Gov. Joey Salceda.
The DOT’s optimism came following the approval of the construction of the P1.42 billion Albay West Coast Road that will connect the main port facilities of Albay 3rd district to the ports of Sorsogon and will shorter the sea lane routes to Masbate province.
Another tourism road projects approved worth P1.48 billion was dubbed as the Convergence Program on Enhancing Tourism Access (CPETA) in Bicol.
Road projects for tourism development under CPETA are devoted to the first district towns of Albay and the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and the island-province of Catanduanes.
The two road projects will connect all the six Bicol provinces in tourism promotion and development.
The Albay West Coast Road project has been assured completion at four annual allocations; P56 million in 2014, P328 million in 2015; P427 million in 2016 and P331 million in 2017.
The other project was set for implementation by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as “priority” billion road project next year.
Roads under CPETA included: the P591-million improvement of Tabaco-Malinao-Buhi Road in Albay; P450-million President Cory Aquino Boulevard, inclusive of the construction of two bridges in Camarines Norte; P368-,illion Iriga-Buhi Road in Camarines Sur; and, the P75-million Virac-Pajo-Antipolo-Igang Road in Catanduanes.
Strategic approaches have been initiated and pursued by RDC to include the Catanduanes-Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte Tourism Link (CCTL).
DPWH and DOT have been pushing for aggressive program on providing quality roads and bridges to trigger tourist influx in Bicol.
This year alone, the DPWH-DOT convergence projects for roads leading to tourist destinations amounted to P849.7 million. This includes P409.5-million in Camarines Norte, P250.3-million for Camarines Sur and P190- million for Sorsogon.
DOT said over three million tourists arrived in Bicol last year. With the roads completed in 2016 and ALMASORTA and CCTL in full swing, the target number of tourist arrivals according to DOT and RDC officials “is very much attainable.”(PNA)