Focusing on sustainable development in Muslim Mindanao, the DOT-ARMM recently held the ARMM Tourism Strategic Planning Workshop in partnership with the Planning Office of the DOT Central Office with the invaluable support of the Office of the Regional Governor-ARMM. The Planning Workshop ran from October 18 to 19, 2012 in Zamboanga City with local government and private sector participants from the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.
The key objective of the workshop is to gather inputs from tourism stakeholders from the five provinces in order to arrive at a Strategic Action Plan for the ARMM. DOT-ARMM Regional Secretary Nassreena Sampaco-Baddiri welcomed all the participants during the opening program and highlighted the need for region-wide collaboration and cooperation in building Sustainable Tourism Development in the autonomous region. Regional Secretary Sampaco-Baddiri expressed her appreciation to the DOT Central office for providing technical assistance to the DOT-ARMM through the Tourism Planning Office. Emphasizing the significance of the signing of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement, the Regional Secretary marked a new dawn in tourism development in Muslim Mindanao.
Speakers during the program elaborated on the challenge of Tourism Development given financial and security constraints. Ms Becky Labit, City Tourism Officer of Puerto Princessa, discussed the lessons learned in Tourism development of Puerto Princessa, providing participants a look into how a strong commitment from LGUs can impact development trajectories. Atty. Lucas Nunag, Head of the Bohol Tourism Council, shared the private sector perspective of tourism development and the significant role of local business owners in overcoming challenges in the local tourism industry.
The two day event also included SWOT and tourism inventory workshops wherein ARMM tourism development was assessed at both the local and regional level. Participants from the five provinces identified strengths and weaknesses in local tourism development as well as weaknesses and opportunities in terms of product development and marketing as well as human capacity building. The planning workshop ended with presentations from the five provinces of the ARMM and DOT-ARMM towards a Strategic Action Plan for Tourism in Muslim Mindanao.