DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, March 26 (PIA) — The Negros Oriental Tourism Road Map was presented Friday to about 100 local stakeholders here to ensure support to the development of tourism as guide for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the province.

With this blueprint, Governor Roel Degamo said his administration is bent on using tourism industry as the main component for creating both livelihood and employment opportunities for Negrenses.

“What is positive about NegOr tourism now, based on the data gathered the international tourist arrivals reached 463,359 in 2013, a 50 percent increase compared to 2012,” said Department of Tourism (DOT-7) regional director  Rowena Montecillo.

Negros Oriental placed second in tourist arrivals in Central Visayas, next to Cebu province, Montecillo said.

The top ten foreign tourist visitors recorded in the province were Americans, Germans, French, Canadians, Britons, Australians, Chinese, Koreans, and Swiss nationals.

With the growing number of tourist arrivals or markets, the DOT director said the tourism action plan will also have to align with the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) and identify the priority tourism development areas in the country.

The key development strategy-plan include product development, marketing and promotion which the stakeholders propose and continue to promote include diving in Apo Island; sun and beach;  cruise and nautical tours; nature adventures; educational, sports and medical tourism; events and conventions and cultural heritage tours.

The roadmap was presented for the stakeholders to help make the plan work.

Different heads and representatives from government agencies, business and academe sectors, non-government organizations and local government units are asked in a workshop to push tourism programs and projects forward on three key strategies: product development and marketing and promotions; market access, connectivity and destination infrastructure; and tourism institutional, governance and human resource capacities.

Subsequently, the local tourism players endorsed the first Negros Oriental Tourism Action Plan, as the governor thanked to the stakeholders for the support in the promotion of tourism industry in the province. (rmn/JCT/PIA7-Negros Oriental)