Department of Tourism Inaugurates First Tourist Rest Area in Medellin, Cebu

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco marked a significant milestone on Monday, July 10, with the inauguration of the first-ever completed Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Medellin, Cebu. The facility, located in the northern part of Cebu, is the inaugural structure out of the initial ten TRAs initiated by the DOT since last year.

The Tourist Rest Area (TRA), identified as a priority program by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., serves as a convergence point for both foreign and local travelers. It provides comprehensive information on tourism sites, attractions, activities, accommodations, safety and security concerns, and essential services during their stay, including clean restroom facilities.

In her address at the inauguration, Secretary Frasco emphasized the DOT’s commitment to addressing the fundamental needs of travelers. “Every detail of a tourist journey is important to the Department of Tourism, and that is why we decided to address one of the most basic necessities of travel–clean and decent restrooms and an information center and pasalubong center,” she stated.

TRA: A ‘Game Changer’ for Medellin

The newly inaugurated TRA in Medellin offers free services, including a charging station, comfortable seating for rest between travels, a dedicated space for purchasing local crafts and products from Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and clean restroom and shower facilities—all free of use. Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr., expressing gratitude, acknowledged that tourism is a game-changer for the municipality, recognizing its vital role in local development.

“The municipality of Medellin has the privilege to be the first LGU to inaugurate and turnover this prestigious tourist rest area facility. Tourism is indeed a game-changer for Medellin; we, being an agricultural town for several decades, recognize the vital role of tourism as the prime moving factor in our local development,” Mayor Mondigo added.

Expansion of TRA Initiative

During the turnover ceremony, Secretary Frasco announced the addition of 15 more TRAs to the initial batch of ten. The DOT had previously broken ground on TRAs in various locations, including Manolo Fortich in Bukidnon, Samal Island in Davao del Norte, Carcar, Carmen, and Moalboal in Cebu, Dauis in Bohol, Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, Roxas in Palawan, and Baguio City.

The expansion of the TRA initiative aligns with the DOT’s commitment to enhancing tourism infrastructure and providing travelers with convenient and well-equipped rest areas across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Provincial Government’s Commitment

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia announced the Provincial Government’s commitment to replicate the TRA project in Cebu, with Bogo town as the first beneficiary. The formal agreement on this partnership project is set to be signed in August, demonstrating the province’s support for the DOT’s initiatives.

“In order to support the efforts of our Tourism Secretary, of our very own Cebuana, the province of Cebu commits to construct as many TRAs as she put here in the province of Cebu,” Governor Garcia declared.

Stakeholders Reiterate Support to DOT

On the sidelines of the turnover ceremony, members of the consular corps, governors from the Visayas region, local mayors, representatives from the private and business sectors, and Cebu-based creatives reiterated their support for the DOT and Secretary Frasco. They joined the ceremony to express their appreciation and commitment to furthering the success of tourism initiatives in the Philippines.

Secretary Frasco expressed her gratitude to the officials and stakeholders, emphasizing, “Love is what has seen us through the dark days of the pandemic and the many calamities that have come into our shores. Love is what will prevail to usher us into this golden era of tourism.”

Attendees at the Turnover Ceremony

The turnover ceremony was attended by Deputy House Speaker Duke Frasco, Medellin Vice Mayor Alfonso Lim, other local officials, DOT Undersecretary Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, and Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) Assistant Chief Operating Officer (ACOO) Gregory Oller.

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