The power of tourism PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 12:07

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

The importance of tourism was best exemplified by the United Nations of a Conference on International Travel and Tourism held in Rome in September, 1963.  World attention then shifted its focus on international travel and tourism as “an economic and social force of major proportions in the world.” Frontier formalities were eliminated on travel. Passports were simplified and many countries eliminated visas entirely.

Tourism development was the main discussion of the conference. It is said that tourism “is looked upon by many countries as a highly desirable and feasible method of economic development because the resources which attract and support tourism are usually abundant in underdeveloped areas.”

Thus, it is imperative that the city government of Zamboanga pays attention – NOW – to heavy infrastructure development – roads, a new airport, public utilities, parks and similar activities (development of Sta. Cruz island and Merloquet waterfalls). This way, Zamboanga can easily attract foreign capital in a short span of time. With the serious intent of the national government to crush criminality, and with it, terrorism, Zamboanga WILL BE GREAT.

While visiting my son and grandchildren in Manila last week, I came across an article by Mr. Felino A. Palafox, Jr. entitled: “Zamboanga: Urban revitalization toward a global gateway city.” He essayed the future of Zamboanga in terms of her natural resources, abundant flora and fauna. Dubai, he said, imports its garden soil from Pakistan, flowers from Holland, and irrigation from Germany. “For Zamboanga, it is already naturally rich,” he said.

Very recently, Palafox Associates and Palafox Architecture Group have been tapped to help Zamboanga rejuvenate invigorate, revitalize and plan its city well into the 21th century and transform it into a FIRST CLASS WORLD METROPOLIS. The plan includes awareness on how the people can benefit from the plan in terms of mobility and transportation in the application of its comprehensive land use, zoning ordinance, transportation plan, disaster preparedness and security.

Palafox has done projects with 39 countries, and the more than one thousand cities that he’s visited in 67 countries, he said that Zamboanga can adopt elements from smart, sustainable, safe and resilient cities where their wide sidewalks are filled with frescoes and sights to behold. He also said that our food output can be increased by integrating agriculture and aquaculture as part of the overall urban plan.

I’ve written before that the “re-entry” of Mr. Paul G. Dominguez in government is crucial to Zamboanga’s development – after all, he was instrumental in creating the BIMP-East Asean Growth Area during the incumbency of President Fidel V. Ramos. His acceptance, although he has persistently refused the appointment, as presidential assistant for Mindanao will revive and strengthen trade links between Zamboanga and Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Mr. Dominguez pointed out in 1992 that the selected areas in Mindanao that will have much to benefit from this economic, trade and tourism alliance are Zamboanga, General Santos, Cotabato and Davao.

Using this route, there will be increased tourism, trade and investments within its sub-regions. Zamboanga plays a vital role in realizing the medium and long-term goals of Mindanao and BIMP-EAGA which will, according to Palafox, become a major location within the ASEAN for high value-added agro industry, natural resource-based manufacturing (at the Zamboecozone) and HIGH-END TOURISM “that will eventually shift towards ensuring socio-economic, physical development, and a southern gateway to and from the Philippines.”

Palafox concludes: “Zamboanga, among other cities around the country, has the potential to become one of the best cities in the world, although there is still much to be done.”

Development of our tourism potentials is what is desired. First thing’s first: TRANSFER OUR AIRPORT the soonest possible time. Get rid of the main obstacle to our development. Talk to San Miguel Corporation, Manny V. Pangilinan or Pascual Garcia to get the job done. JUST DO IT!