THE Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT) is spearheading a US$5.8 million redevelopment of Roxas Boulevard, the major gateway to the city of Manila and one the country's most important and historic thoroughfares.
The DoT proposal covers the 10.1km spanning Bonifacio Drive in the heart of the city all the way to Airport Road near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. It will include cleaning the debris from previous developments, streetscape improvements, soil replacement and planting of greeneries.
Paved pedestrian walkways and bike lanes will be constructed while a segment of the road will be transformed into an events venue, a strip of night cafes, and commercial and shopping areas.
Ramon Jimenez Jr, tourism secretary, DoT, said Roxas Boulevard’s redevelopment is more than a beautification project. “This programme will re-establish the importance of Manila as a capital city and enhance the value of properties all over the district that it crosses. This is a business plan aimed at restoring and enhancing Manila as a viable capital for tourism and business.”
The local government and private sector would also hammer out solutions to potential problems relating to security, traffic management, billboards and illegal and ambulant vendors in the area.
President of Narra Hospitality and the Association of Human Resources Managers in the Hospitality Industry, Vic Alcuaz, said: “This is the best project the DoT can undertake in the Manila Bay area. Creating a new, world-class bay walk will benefit both local and foreign tourists and therefore make it easier for the government to reach its 10 million tourist goal by 2016.”
Inscribe Tours manager, Celia Soliman, added: “Aside from the famous Manila Bay sunset, people, especially tourists, will have a greater reason to visit the place.”
While lauding the redevelopment plan, CCT 168 Travel & Tours general manager, Ine Faustino, said commercial developments should not obstruct Manila Bay and its famed sunset, and suggested that activities be limited to the right side of Roxas Boulevard, away from the Bay.