CEBU CITY – The islands of Bantayan and Camotes are now ready to develop their tourism portfolios following the completion of the comprehensive development master plans, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) said on Monday.
In a statement, OPAV Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and his office are set to implement the Tourism Development Plans that aim to change the tourism interface of two of Cebu’s premier tourist destinations.
This master plan is among the legacies of President Rodrigo Duterte before he ends his terms on June 30, Dino said.
“OPAV initiated this project and we are grateful to TIEZA for heeding our call and coming into the picture to fund the creation of these Tourism Development Plans,” he said. “Tourism is crucial for Cebu. It’s one of the primary economic drivers here. So, having these well-researched and well-documented plans will greatly help us further develop the tourism potential of Bantayan and Camotes Islands”.
Dino pushed for the creation of master plans for Cebu’s premier tourist hubs to avoid experiencing the same fate that of Boracay Island when Duterte ordered its rehabilitation.
He cited the Duterte administration’s effort in promoting tourism in the country that “has taken historic rehabilitation to preserve such, we owe it to him and we are always grateful in the Visayas for these initiatives”.
The master plans strictly mandate the proposed 25-meter plus 5-meter “no-build zone” for Bantayan and Camotes, which is similar to the easement for Boracay Island.
The 25-meter easements from the mean high water mark will serve as a salvage zone, while the 5-meter setback will be the main pathway for the whole stretch of the beach area.
Bantayan’s master plan has proposed, among other several plans, that cliffside lots should be limited to 1-hectare to minimize the density of developments.
A 30-meter easement from the edge of the cliff will be a public open space while this open space consists of connecting walkways, movable retail kiosks, view decks, landscape areas, activity areas, and an opportunity for cliff diving sites.
An architectural roof type for the developments is suggested to be a pitched, thatched roof to enhance a more island-living feel which is set to be implemented at Sta. Fe town’s “The Ruins”, a famous tourist attraction in the municipality.
It also proposes an esplanade, a linear park, that connects several landmarks with a pedestrian-friendly pathway lined with palms and trees.
Benches are provided at the entire stretch to give pedestrians an area to rest and enjoy the view of the sea. Such a plan is being pitched to be applied at the existing passenger port Poblacion in Bantayan town.
Same plans are being proposed for Camotes, particularly in the western Poblacion of the municipality of Poro.
The master plan also proposes the esplanade and passenger port development in southern Poblacion in Tudela town.
Bantayan and Camotes are crucial tourist hubs in Cebu and attracted a huge number of tourists before the pandemic for their pristine white sand beaches.
The tourism plans were a product of a series of consultations and research sessions with the consultants. (PNA)