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Frasco inaugurates first ever DOT Tourist Rest Area in PHL

Tourists traveling to the northern part of Cebu can now make a stopover at the TRA in Medellin to avail of its free services, including the use of its charging station, and comfortable seating to rest in between travels.

MEDELLIN, CEBU – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco led the inauguration of the first ever completed tourist rest area (TRA) on Monday July 10. The facility, located in Medellin, is the first to be completed out of the initial batch of 10 TRAs that the DOT broke ground on since last year.

The TRA, flagship project of the DOT identified as among the priority programs of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., is a convergence point that foreign and local travelers could approach to get information on tourism sites and attractions, activities, accommodations; reporting concerns related to safety and security; and gaining access to other provisions necessary during their stay at a destination, such as a clean restroom.

“Every detail of a tourist journey is important to the department of tourism and that is why we decided to address one of the most basic necessities of travel–clean and decent restrooms and information center and pasalubong center,” Secretary Frasco said in her speech.

TRA a ‘game changer’ For Medellin

Tourists traveling to the northern part of Cebu can now make a stopover at the TRA in Medellin to avail of its free services, including the use of its charging station, and comfortable seating to rest in between travels.

The TRA also features a dedicated space where tourists can buy pasalubong (souvenirs) from a curation of local crafts and products of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Identified as a need for every traveling guest, the TRA also comes equipped with a clean restroom and shower area – also free of use.

As he affirmed his support for the DOT, Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr. also said in a speech that he is grateful that Medellin has been chosen as one of the towns where the TRA was constructed to cater to tourists traveling around Cebu Island province.

“The municipality of Medellin has the privilege to be the first LGU to inaugurate and turnover this prestigious tourist rest area facility,” he said.

“Tourism is indeed a game changer for Medellin, we, being an agricultural town for several decades; we recognize the vital role of tourism as the prime moving factor in our local development,” the mayor added.

More TRAs underway

During the official turnover ceremony of the TRA in Medellin, Secretary Frasco also announced that 15 more TRAs will be added to the DOT’s first batch of ten TRAs.

To recall, the DOT broke ground on TRAs in the following locations: Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon; Samal Island in Davao del Norte; the towns of Carcar, Carmen, and Moalboal in Cebu; Dauis in Bohol; Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte; Roxas in Palawan; and Baguio City.

“We will be inaugurating in addition to this one, nine more tourist rest areas across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. And I am very happy to announce that due to our partnerships with our infrastructure arm–TIEZA, we will be breaking ground on 15 more tourist rest areas this year in addition,” she said.

Meanwhile, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia also announced during the event that the Provincial Government will replicate the TRA project of the DOT in Cebu, with Bogo town as the first beneficiary.

The signing of the formal agreement on the partnership project is poised to happen this August, the governor said in an ambush interview with the media.

“In order as well to support the efforts of our Tourism Secretary, of our very own Cebuana, the province of Cebu commits to construct as many TRAs that she put here in the province of Cebu,” the Governor said.

Stakeholders reiterate support to DOT

On the sidelines of the formal turnover of the first completed TRA, members of the consular corps, governors from the Visayas region, local mayors and members of the councils, representatives from the private and business sectors as well as Cebu-based creatives–who earlier issued a manifesto of support for the DOT and Secretary Frasco–joined the ceremony and once again throw their support behind the tourism chief.

“Daghan kaayong salamat. Over the course of the past few days much has been said and what has prevailed over and above everything, is that all we hold in common is, we all love the Philippines. This love has been demonstrated in known uncertain terms – by the Cebu Provincial Government led by Governor Gwen Garcia and all the officials, all the mayors, all of the board members, the chambers of commerce support, even from the Japanese Government, through our Consul General, our choreographers, our tourism stakeholders, our front liners,” Secretary Frasco said as she thanked the officials and stakeholders present.

“I am thankful to our President for having expressed his trust and confidence in my continued ability to lead the Department of Tourism and I am grateful to you, Cebu,” she emphasized.

Meanwhile, the tourism chief stressed in her address before a crowd of hundreds that the enhanced “Love The Philippines” tourism campaign is intended to reintroduce the Philippines to the world by capitalizing on the country’s natural assets, its rich and diverse heritage and culture as well as the interesting stories of the past.

“In our tourism stakeholders – from the resorts, hotels, organization, groups, chambers, that have all declared that they love the Philippines, and from our Filipino brothers and sisters who have expressed their collective love for our nation—love is what has seen us through. The dark days of the pandemic and the many calamities that have come into our shores, love is what will prevail to usher us into this golden era of tourism,” she said.

Also at the turnover ceremony are officials Deputy House Speaker Duke Frasco; Medellin Vice Mayor Alfonso Lim; other local officials; DOT Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano; and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) Assistant Chief Operating Officer (ACOO) Gregory Oller.

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