Tuesday, 14 November 2023 08:48


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Cagayan de Oro City Hall needs to craft a five-year tourism master plan to enable the city to compete with top tourism destinations in the country, City Hall’s tourism chief said.
‘The trend in Philippine tourism nowadays is on health/wellness, business and educational tourism…local governments like the provinces of Cebu and Bohol and Davao City are kept busy conducting trainings and providing assistance to their stakeholders (to boost their tourism),’ City Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office chief Rico Libre said during the recent executive budget hearing of the City Council.
Libre asked the 20th City Council which convened as a council of the whole during the executive budget hearing to pass a resolution for the five-year tourism master plan in order to identify which projects would be prioritized for implementation.
‘There are 42 classifications of tourism (and we aim to identify which are suitable for implementation in the city),’ he told the council. While saying that river tourism remains a priority due to the city’s white water rafting program, Libre said they need to develop the various white water rafting stations.
‘As mentioned by Councilor (Jay Roa) Pascual we also need to develop tourism in our hinterland or mountain barangays as additional sites (for our visitors),’ Libre said. He also said the city needs to develop eco-cultural tourism with emphasis on the city’s lumad community.
‘Particularly the Higaonon tribes because we can learn so much from their culture (which needs to be preserved and promoted by the city) and they’re also a part of the city’s rich cultural heritage,’ Libre said.
The City Tourism Office budget stands at P31.203 million in 2023. Based on data by the City Budget Office, about P1.2 million was allocated for eco-tourism livelihood, particularly in the city’s hinterland barangays.
For this year’s Higalaay Festival held last August, the office spent P5 million while it spent P1 million for the city’s tourism expos and exhibitions held in Manila.
For next year, the City Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office budget is pegged at P48,927,867. ‘Cagayan de Oro City still maintains its position as a top tourist destination in Misamis Oriental province as we are the gateway and hub of northern Mindanao. So we have to sustain (and even accelerate that momentum),’ Libre said. (Stephen Capillas of City Information Office)