The local government plans to transform this city into an educational tourism destination for international students, an education destination for students from around the world if plans push through.
Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the city has this potential just waiting to be fully tapped as Iloilo City is the educational center of Western Visayas and Mindanao. Students from said areas are come here to study.
Mabilog disclosed in an interview with the RMN Radio that the idea of educational tourism stemmed from his recent training at the Local Government Academy of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, “where we were chosen by then DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo to participate at the first ever DILG training on tourism and good governance to help uplift our local economy”.
The Mayor’s special interest in educational tourism was further strengthened when he studied at the Civil Service College in Singapore, toying on an idea to also “invite them to come to Iloilo City to establish their satellite learning institutions here”.
According to him, his idea was also welcomed when he presented it to an official of the said Singaporian institution.
“They were amenable and waiting for the letter of intent which I would be sending them as an initial step towards attaining the plan to promote our city through this educational tourism,” Mabilog said.
The Mayor in the said local radio interview did not elaborate the blue print of his educational tourism thrusts for Iloilo City, but he is making tourism as one of the city’s growth drivers, and is determined to position the City as an educational hub in this part of the country.
He said he also discussed the idea with Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez during the recent signing of the deed of donation between the Megaworld Corporation and Department of Tourism at the Marriot Hotel in Manila. The signing of the deed of donation will pave the way for the construction of a multi-million peso state-of- the-art Iloilo Convention Center.
The construction is expected to kick off early next year and will be finished by the end of 2014.
Mabilog said the convention center when completed would further strengthen “our position as educational center, and boost Iloilo City’s capacity to attract educational tourists, or students who will study or attend educational tours and trainings here”. (JCM/Vicente W. Villavert/PIA 6-Iloilo)