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Bizmen lead infra investment in Panay

ROXAS CITY—Private stakeholders in the key provinces of Panay Island are pushing for connectivity in tourism infrastructure to give visitors ease during inter-island travels in the provinces of Aklan, Iloilo, Antique and Capiz.

The province of Capiz, known as the country’s seafood capital, is taking the lead in building roads and “roll on, roll off” ports to capture a sizable number of tourists going to Boracay and Iloilo.

Jose Nery Ong, chief executive officer (CEO) of Pueblo de Panay, a 250-hectare business park in Roxas City, Capiz, said private stakeholders are taking the lead in investing in the infrastructure connectivity in the four provinces.

For instance, Pueblo de Panay is establishing a 2-hectare integrated terminal that will provide tourists and investors ease of transfers from Capiz to Iloilo City, Aklan and Boracay and Antique.

Pueblo, he said, is also leasing out properties for manufacturing and processing plants for aquaculture products that are abundant in the province.

Plans to establish an eco-zone inside Pueblo de Panay also aims to bring jobs and livelihood for local communities and promote seafood products from the province.

“Rather than being competitors, it is high time we establish complementarity among the provinces of Panay island to lure tourists and investments,” Ong told Manila-based journalists in an interview on Sunday.

Pueblo de Panay hosted Manila-based journalists and travel bloggers to the third Capiz-tahan Festival to help the local government attract more tourists and investors into Capiz province.

Ong said he is currently negotiating with other private stakeholders and investors in Iloilo, Aklan and Boracay as well as Antique to coordinate efforts to boost tourism and investments into Panay island.

Nino Bolano, tourism officer in Roxas City, said tourist arrivals in Capiz province continues to increase by an average of 20 percent annually.

Figures from the DOT regional office in Roxas City showed there were 178,000 tourists who flocked into Capiz province in 2012. But only 5 percent of them are foreign tourists and the rest are from Manila and nearby provinces.

Capiz province is rich in historical and cultural treasures that include 16th century Panay Church or known as Sta. Monica Parish which is made of corals.

The latest tourist attraction in Capiz is the Panay river cruise that that will have 18 docking stations and provide visitors a breathtaking tour of the province.








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