Councilor Rolando B. Avellano  of   Infanta, Quezon welcomed the facilitators and participants of the Real, Infant and General Nakar  (REINA) Cluster Tourism Master Planning Workshop on  September 30 until   October 1  at the  Fiesta Restaurant, Infanta, Quezon. In his welcome message,   Councilor  Avellano said that  Municipal Government of Infanta is delighted that the national government through  the NEDA and DOT initiated the activity. He told the participants that his municipality is eager to develop its tourism industry so that additional jobs will be generated.

Ms. Basilisa Mendoza, representing Dir. Rebecca Labit of  the DOT Region IV-A expressed appreciation for the enthusiasm of folks  of the REINA  municipalities. She said that the NEDA and DOT intend to replicate the initiative in other contiguous areas with high tourism potential. She urged the three municipalities to cooperate and ensure the success of the activity wherein the purpose are: (a)  to set the vision and direction of tourism development; (b) guide the various stakeholders on the key areas for tourism development;  and (c) identify the roles and responsibilities of key players.

 Mr. Donald Gawe, representing Dir. Luis Banua of  the NEDA Regional Office (NRO)  IV-A, the lead workshop facilitator, said that the cluster approach for development is among the main strategies identified in the Regional Physical Framework Plan. He said that the Tourism Masterplan shall provide an overall framework to guide the development of the tourism sector and define the roles of the local and national governments in addressing the challenges and harnessing the potentials of the area. The plan shall  shall address the concerns of connectivity and access, tourism product development, and governance.

The two-day activity covered the following: (a) establishing the basis for cluster planning for tourism; (b) consolidating the tourism profile; (c) identifying the development potentials and challenges; (d)  formulating the vision; (e)  formulating the tourism development policies/strategies; (f)  identifying   programs/project; (g)  implementing  mechanisms; and (h) identifying  the next steps. The participants worked by groups and later shared their outputs during the plenary while the other sessions were also held   at  the  plenary.

The participants said cluster planning is necessary to save cost, promote symbiotic relationship among neighboring municipalities,  and  prioritize projects and activities.

After identifying the benefits of cluster planning, the three municipalities agreed to develop and promote the tourism industry as one group. The participants were able to identify the tourism assets, development potentials and challenges through the SWOT analysis and problem tree analysis and formulated their vision.