The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is once again flexing the town of San Vicente in the north of Palawan as the investment destination, as the town also regains its balance after the pandemic with the launch of major tourism attractions.

Atty. Karen Mae Baydo, TIEZA assistant chief operations officer for tourism enterprise zone, said with the declaration of San Vicente as a Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ), the town is also primed to develop into a major tourism investment destination in the country.

She stated that with the support of the local government unit (LGU) and the private sector, TIEZA is on track with its programs for the town’s Tourism Enterprise Zone (TEZ) masterplan for development.

“Since 2013, TIEZA has been working with UP Institute of Tourism to proactively seek up areas with tourism potential areas that would be an example for sustainable tourism development, where one of the areas that was selected was San Vicente,” Baydo said in a press conference during the opening of Paragua Coast Town SanVic Surfing competition on Wednesday.

TIEZA San Vicente administrator Engr. Bernard Alarilla, TIEZA Asst. COO Atty. Karen Baydo, San Vicente Mayor Amy Alvarez and Elizabeth Fernando of Hotel Elizabeth

“Through the efforts of our TIEZA BOD, we had the entire municipality master-planned,” she added noting that San Vicente is unique considering that it is the only place where the entire municipality is a TEZ.

Other areas with TEZ masterplan are Panglao in Bohol, Mount Samat Shrine in Bataan and Corregidor Island.

“We divided San Vicente into four clusters, with cluster 1 which is the Long beach as the top priority. Fortunately, we have a partnership with the local government unit, and the Sangguniang Bayan also adopted the masterplan with the passage of an ordinance,” Baydo stated.

“And together with the private stakeholders, we have a management committee that threshes out policies concerning tourism development in the area,” she added.

Baydo further stated that with the current promotional efforts, more tourism products and circuits would be needed in order to accommodate the expected volume of traffic.

“There would be a need for more rooms, and there will be multiplier effects because ultimately, that is the goal of TIEZA when we masterplan the development of an area – to uplift the way of living of the host community, because tourism has a big impact across the economic strata,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Mayor Amy Alvarez said with the latest developments, the LGU also expects the town to once again emerge as one of the best destinations in Palawan.

She likewise expressed confidence that the town is ready for the influx of tourists as pandemic restrictions are eased down.

“We already have the masterplan. Although sometimes, we have to make amendments because it’s been a long time. But we’re sure that in San Vicente right now, we can start fresh and there’s no need for major changes,” Alvarez said.

“We can start implementing first then fixing things where there are problems can be prevented by starting and implementing rules and regulations earlier,” she added.

Baydo also stated that she is hoping that the return of SanVic Surfing competition will be the start.

“Actually, it was very quick, the pandemic came and then here we are, staging again the surfing competition. We are looking forward to what the future will hold and we are actively promoting for San Vicente,” she said.

More tourism infrastructure, destinations
Alvarez also said more tourism establishments are rising in response to the growing potential of the town.

Currently, Megaworld Corporation and Hotel Elizabeth are constructing large-capacity accommodation establishments in San Vicente among others.

She further stated that they are also expediting concreting of roads which is the top priority of LGU, to cater to more developments.

Baydo on the other hand said they are also in discussion with the Department of Tourism for other products.

“In our last meeting with the new regional director, we discussed certain activities where he said he is interested in diving spots here. And we are also looking at the possibility of connecting San Vicente to PPUR,” she said.

“So those are the things that we will bring for further study. Also, TIEZA is developing certain infrastructure to ensure that we will be supporting the growth of tourism here,” she added.

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