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:: BANTON 2003 – MASTER PLAN

by Lydon F. Fadri


The Banton 2003 Project is basically the development of the eco-cultural tourism industry in Banton in the Year 2003 and beyond.

The primary objective is to help strengthen the local economy by maintaining a continuous flow of people in the municipality throughout the year.

The general thrusts, according to market segments, are as follows:

  • Local Residents: Keep them in Banton especially during vacations

  • Bantoanons Outside of Banton: Make their visit to Banton longer and more frequent and with their families

  • Tourists: Entice them to come to Banton

As a general strategy, the target market segment shall be made parallel to the preparedness of Banton to accommodate tourists (other than Bantoanons) so as not to disappoint them and also to maximize the economic gains from this endeavor. Hence, the target segment for the Year 2003 shall initially be the Bantoanons residing in and out of Banton. In line with the general objective, however, Bantoanons will be encouraged to make their visit home in scattered times throughout the year rather than in one particular period (which usually is the Holy Week).

It should be noted that the bulk of people coming home in one particular period causes a lot of inconveniences that discourages them to come home more often or bring their whole family.

The project will be spearheaded by non-governmental organizations and the municipal government. It shall be gradually transferred to the business sector with the NGOs and the municipal government providing the support. The period of transition shall at most be three (3) years.

The NGO’s will be represented, for the meantime, by SILAK IT BANTOANON, INC. and shall be based in Metro Manila with the Municipal Government providing the local support. Banton-based organizations and individual Bantoanon have been invited to join in this endeavor.


INTRODUCTION


The attached brochure promoting Banton as an eco-cultural tourism site should, without a doubt, convince us that indeed, it has so much potential. What the brochure presents are merely what we have now and we know that most of them are not yet developed. Yet, we see that Banton can already offer what other tourism sites offer, and probably more.

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DEVELOPMENT OF THE SITES

There is no doubt capital is needed to develop these sites to be at par with major tourist sites in the country and as such tackled in the succeeding sections.  Once a private developer steps in, there should be not much of development concerns anymore. Knowing, however, the difficulty of raising capital and attracting developers/investors, only the bare essentials are herein presented with the view that the municipal government or the particular barangay councils would be in charge. This with the hope that when things get going, selling business opportunities in the island will not be that much difficult.

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CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES

Festivals also attract visitors as what Ati-Atihan does in Aklan or the Kadayawan in Davao. Sports competition bring, if not visitors, Bantoanons home as what the Lenten Basketball Tournament has shown us. Cultural shows and plays have their share of patrons. Needless to say, we can add attractions by lining up events throughout the year.

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FACILITIES

Transportation. The completion of the Banton Port next year should remove one of the biggest hindrances to Banton’s tourism plans.  This early, plans should be drawn so that the sea transport system would be tourist-friendly. This is very important because of the long travel time from Manila, the expected takeoff point of tourists, to Banton.

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ORGANIZATION

For the project to work, the right organization should be in place.  A committee should be formed and maintained to plan, lead and coordinate all these activities.  Subcommittees should be formed as follows:

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FUNDING

Funds are of course needed.

The Municipal Government should try to squeeze some budget in its coffers for this project. Provincial-funded projects should, for the next two years at least, be supportive of this endeavor. It should also try to seek help from the national government and the Department of Tourism for some financial and manpower support.

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PLANNING

A grand strategic actions plan should be drawn for this. Not all may be doable because of lack of manpower, time and resources.  A matrix of activities according to the impact or importance and feasibility may prove helpful:

Should Do

Must Do

Don’t Do

Nice to Do

The “Should Do” activities are those activities which will make a big impact yet very feasible. The “Must Do” are the high impact activities but may be hard to do because of lack of resources. “Nice To Do” are those whose impact may be low but would only require small resources.

A specific timetable should also be put in place.


CONCLUSION

Compared to the old days, Banton may not be as progressive. In the past, big industries flourished: ship-building, sea transport, pot-making, loom weaving, farming and fishing.  Most of these industries are lost if not in the process of being lost. Shipbuilding is gone. The Bantoanons’ flag carrier, the Asuncion Shipping Lines, now the San Nicolas Lines, is not able to keep pace with development and may eventually lose out. Fishing was never developed and while the island teems with fish, still all we have are small-time fisherfolks or those fishing for their own consumption (panarili). The price of copra has gone down effectively crippling the coconut industry. Good thing, BMPCI is gaining grounds in resurrecting the loom-weaving industry.

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We are spearheading an eco-cultural tourism project for our beloved hometown which we refer to as BANTON 2003. 

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