Sanchez: Think tourism | SunStar

Sanchez: Think tourism

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Sanchez: Think tourism

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

“THANKS to the competence, love of God, our country’s security and stability, endowed wealth, integrated infrastructure and quality services,” this place has become “the world’s renowned destination for tourism, investment and business management: the interface of choice for hosting major cultural events, artistic and sports.”

Are we talking of Bacolod? After all, its City Planning and Development Office expressed its plans to invest millions of pesos for various tourism projects for its Bacolod Tourism Development Plan for 2017 to 2027.

No, the actual quote is from Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the hereditary ruler of Abu Dhabi, the richest emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

While Al-Nahyan is among the world’s wealthiest monarchs. It’s not all from oil. Despite the fall in oil prices, the UAE’s economy is weathering the plunge, says Mathias Angonin, analyst at Moody’s Investors Service. “Not only has it managed to diversify economically, it has also lowered its dependence on the hydrocarbons sector.”

The UAE is among the most diversified economies in the Middle East, with trade and logistics, services, retail, tourism and aviation among the key drivers of non-oil growth, says Shady Shaher Al Borno, Head of Macro Strategy Research, Global Markets and Treasury, Emirates NBD.

Diversification is the key to developing economic resiliency. As with the UAE, public investments in tourist facilities are most welcome in Bacolod City.

Among these is the initial budget P100 million allocation for the Coastal Boulevard in Barangay Banago; public plaza conservation and restoration; Sum-ag River development in Barangay Sum-ag; and Nature’s Park in Barangay Alangilan.

And get this. “The UAE is a global aviation hub through key international airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and is playing a lead role in new sectors such as renewables energy through Masdar in Abu Dhabi,” said Al Borno.

Wow. Can we see the parallelism? The UAE has embraced renewables. Its leaders have seen the handwriting on the wall, as Negrenses have seen theirs. The future belongs to those who can shift the soonest to renewable, instead of getting stuck to petroleum-based economic sectors.

The UAE’s main drawing power for tourism is shopping, however. Called the “shopping capital of the Middle East,” the country hosts the Dubai Shopping Festival, a month-long festival held during the month of January each year.

So there. May these megatourism facilities bear fruit on Negrense soil to enable the City of Smiles – or the province – lose dependence on sugar production to shore up its provincial local economy.

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on May 17, 2017.

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