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On December 14, 2018, the Puerto Princesa City Tourism Office (CTO) organized the first-ever Community-based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) Convention attended by more than 300 representatives from 28 CBST groups and barangays. In one of its sessions, USAID’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Tourism Specialist Dr. Randi Alampay gave a presentation about the basic principles on sustainable destination management for CBSTs, with specific case studies on successfully-managed CBST sites in Cebu and Bohol. The 28 CBST associations also presented their current operations and plans and priorities for the coming year. During the convention, USAID/SURGE Component 3 Team Leader Celso Enriquez and City Program Coordinator Cecilia Isubal met with key officers of the City Tourism Office to discuss planned technical assistance to the tourism sector. For 2019, USAID/SURGE and the City Tourism Office will focus on 1) developing marketing strategies for the packaging and promotion of CBST sites as part of tour circuits to be offered by operators; 2) training and technical assistance to CBSTs to diversify existing attractions and product offerings; and 3) conducting joint projects and activities with other agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority on product development of craft/souvenir products for CBSTs. City Mayor Lucilo Bayron and city councilors attended the convention. In his message, Mayor Bayron emphasized the city government’s support to the CBSTs as significant drivers in the development of the local tourism industry. USAID/SURGE continues to support the efforts of the city government in strengthening its tourism industry attractions and products.
(Left Photo) The participants of the convention from the 28 community-based sustainable tourism groups in Puerto Princesa City. (Right Photo) USAID/SURGE Tourism Specialist Dr. Randi Alampay discussed sustainable destination management.