DOST-MIMAROPA develops e-tourism website to support the region’s tourism industry
by Patricia O. Calora, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office
This 2017, travel to MIMAROPA and discover the hidden gems of the region’s island provinces!
DOST-MIMAROPA, in partnership with DOT-MIMAROPA and the Palaweño Information and Communications Technology Association (PICTA), has developed a technology solution (www.visitmimaropa.ph) that will help you decide where to go!
The MIMAROPA region is home to a diverse array of tourist destinations. From natural and man-made attractions to cultural and historical sites, its five island provinces – Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan – will cater to any kind of traveler. Its white sand beaches and rich marine biodiversity gives way to various activities such as scuba diving, island hopping, snorkeling, and trekking.
The Apo Reef Natural Park in Occidental Mindoro is known as the country’s diving mecca. Tourists can swim with the fish and see the world’s second largest coral reef system up close.
On the other hand, Oriental Mindoro, one of the country’s emerging ecotourism sites, has several islets with picturesque landscapes. Most notable is Puerto Galera, which is part of the Club of Most Beautiful Bays in the World.
Tourists flock to Marinduque during the holy week to experience the Moriones Festival but the Lenten Capital of the Philippines, also known as the ‘Heart of the Philippines’ because of the island’s shape, has much more to offer. Tourists can explore the insides of different caves.
Romblon, the Marble Capital of the country, has many historical sites. Aside from this, the Looc Bay Marine Sanctuary in Tablas hosts more than a hundred marine species (fish, corals, clams, lobsters, and turtles) and will surely give tourists a unique experience.
Lastly, but certainly not the least, is Palawan – the country’s last ecological frontier. Known around the world for its scenic destinations, the island is consistently mentioned in lists of world’s best destinations. The Puerto Princesa Underground River, for example, was voted as one of the new seven wonders of the world. Since 2014, international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, has consistently named Palawan as the best island in the world.
Since 2010, the country’s tourism industry has steadily grown, posting a compounded annual growth rate of 8.77% in international visitor arrivals from the years 2010 to 2015, according to DOT. The thriving tourism industry has provided jobs and a steady source of income to many Filipinos. In 2015 alone, DOT estimates the tourism industry to have generated 4.99 million in employment – a figure that constituted 12.7% of the national employment – and 227.62 billion in revenue, just from international visitors. In 2016, the Philippine tourism industry continued to grow as it almost breached the six million arrival mark with 5.96 million recorded international visitors, around 1.8 million of whom were estimated to have visited the MIMAROPA region. This, compared to 2015’s 5.36 million visitor arrivals, showed an 11.31% growth rate. The industry’s total earnings, amounting to 230.13 billion, also grew by 1.11%.
Given the industry’s immense potential to drive inclusive growth, tourism development has been included as one of the main thrusts of MIMAROPA’s Regional Development Plan. www.visitmimaropa.ph was developed in support of this. The memorandum of agreement between DOST-MIMAROPA and DOT-MIMAROPA was signed during the Regional Development Council Meeting held in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan on March 3, 2017. Also present at the signing were governors Mario Gene J. Mendiola, Alfonso V. Umali Jr., Eduardo C. Firmalo, and Jose C. Alvarez.
The e-tourism website features popular destinations from each province, as well as links to DOT-accredited service providers, tourism products, and establishments. Articles and blog posts about visitors’ travel experience accompany these featured destinations, to attract prospective tourists and help them decide on their preferred vacation spots.
According to DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) intervention aims to strengthen the region’s tourism industry and its comparative advantage in eco-tourism. By harnessing ICT, MIMAROPA’s tourism products and services will be visible to millions of internet users around the world. The online information platform will enable the efficient and affordable promotion of the region’s tourist attractions.
Currently, the website already contains places of interest for each province, grouped into different categories such as adventure, culture and history, nature, and family fun, among others. As the project moves along, more locations, events, and activities will be added to the website, in coordination with DOT and the City Tourism Offices of each province. With the website serving as a centralized information portal with online travel guides that provide tourists with reliable information and recommendations on the region’s tourism products and services, DOST-MIMAROPA hopes to encourage more people to travel to the region, boosting the local travel and tourism industry.