Tourism Champions Challenge to spur tourism development across the Philippines

A nationwide campaign to incentivize tourism development among Cities and Municipalities has been launched by the Department of Tourism (DOT) with Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco enjoining the 1,400 member-Mayors of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines to propose tourism projects to spur economic development across the country’s regions.

Speaking before mayors and other local government officials in the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) General Assembly at The Manila Hotel on Wednesday (22 February), Secretary Frasco unveiled the Tourism Champions Challenge, a tourism infrastructure program designed to help cities and municipalities in formulating, developing, and managing tourism projects by providing funds to noteworthy project proposals.

“My dear mayors I’m very happy to launch here and now at the LMP National Convention a very exciting program that we have come up with for city mayors and municipal mayors all over the country. We’re calling it the Tourism Champions Challenge where we seek to empower communities to champion Philippine tourism. Through the Tourism Challenge we are inviting over 1,400 municipal mayors and over 100 city mayors to propose any tourism project that is in line with the 7-point tourism agenda of the administration,” Frasco said.

According to the tourism chief who was a three-term mayor prior to being handpicked by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to lead the tourism industry, the DOT Project Challenge shall have five (5) phases:

Phase 1 – Proposal submission and evaluation;
Phase 2 – Capacity building;
Phase 3 – Presentation and ranking of project proposal;
Phase 4 – Implementation of the project and MOA signing; and
Phase 5 – Inauguration of the completed project.

“Having been a local chief executive I can relate all too well with the challenges and difficulties faced by mayors especially by municipal mayors all over the country. Especially when it comes to local projects that we would like to push as far as the development of our respective towns. And therefore, I recognize the necessity of ensuring strengthened tourism governance among the national government in partnership with the local government units,” Frasco said.

The funds, according to Secretary Frasco, will be sourced from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the DOT will receive proposals starting March until May 2023.

“To entice our mayors to join the tourism champions challenge, I’m very happy to announce that we are devoting no less than Php180 million pesos for this project. We will be choosing 5 winners from Luzon, 5 winners from Visayas, and 5 winners from Mindanao. Among the 5, we will rank them, first LGU will get Php 20 million worth of tourism projects, the second will have Php 15 million, third Php 10 million, fourth Php 8 million, and the fifth with 7 million for a grand total of Php 180 million that we are devoting to our mayors, our municipalities, and cities to become tourism champions for the Philippines,” Frasco said.

A project committee shall evaluate and select the best proposals from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Frasco, who previously held the position as national vice president for Visayas of the LMP was among the keynote speakers at the organization’s General Assembly, an annual gathering of the policy-making and decision-making body in the local government level.

Throughout the two-day convention with the theme: Strengthening Municipal Capabilities Around Autonomy and Fostering Resiliency, it featured guest speakers including President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vice-President Sara Duterte, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Maria Antonia Y. Loyzaga, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, Department of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Senator JV Ejercito, Senator Imee Marcos, and other notable members of the national and local government.

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