One could be so amazed with the wonders of nature that offer the taste of paradise. There is a special place, which possesses both a unique culture and beautiful landscape with a rich eco-system. A place untarnished by a lot of development, technology and a heavy human footprint. This is Breathtaking Batanes, where you Explore Simplicity- from the welcoming atmosphere of the mountains of Basco, to the untouched beauty of Ivana, the terrific grazing lands of Uyugan, the historical prints of Mahatao, the paradise island of Sabtang and the adventure-filled Itbayat.

Such place deserves an excellent brand that would position the Province in the international limelight of tourism attractions. Hence, the Department of Trade and Industry Region 02, DTI-Batanes Provincial Office and the Provincial Government of Batanes, forged a partnership with the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) for a two-week engagement on the Place Branding of Batanes. This marks a history as the Province for the first time was assisted by CESO and Volunteer Advisor Dave Smith as the first Canadian Volunteer to set foot in Batanes.

The two-week assignment commenced on July 1 and ended on July 12 this year. The team, led by VA Dave Smith, included Mr. Matt Navalta, CESO Country Representative; DTI-Batanes staff headed by Provincial Director Marietta Salviejo; DTI-02 Regional CESO Coordinator Mr. Michael Paggabao; and Provincial Administrator Ramonito Imperial. The team conducted several environmental and cultural scanning in all the municipalities, gathered relevant information and data through personal interviews and held series of workshops on SWOT Analysis and Place Branding participated in by various tourism players in the province.

On the final exit meeting conducted by VA Dave Smith on July 12, he presented a synthesis of the two-week assignment including the workshop outputs, the Cultural Mapping Process and Results, Tourism Vision for Batanes, Marketing and Branding and the VA’s recommendations of the Tourism Action Plan of the province.

Branded as Breathtaking Batanes: Explore Simplicity, the province openly welcomed the recommendations of VA Dave Smith to boost the tourism sector in the province which were as follows:

1.    Make sure the tourist industry is well organized and supported by the Province of Batanes, LGU’s and Tourism businesses;

2.    Ensure communication nation-wide and with other jurisdictions;

3.    Upgrade marketing and promotion of tourism;

4.    Pursue mutually beneficial partnership arrangements withnearby communities and other tourist agencies in the region;

5.    Create seamless, easy to book vacation opportunities fortourists;

6.    Sharing Culture - Story-telling which is unique and interesting;

7.    Develop more Tour Themes and Packages;

8.    Use of financial incentives to fund and improve tourism;

9.    Designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Chavayan, Sabtang Island;

10.Creation of Tourist Zones;

11.Improvement of Transportation;

12.Expansion of the Tourism Industry may be necessary. This may include expansion of existing facilities such as Bed and Breakfasts or new lodges or eco-styled accommodations. More restaurants capacity may also be required;

13.A New Museum, Support for Art Gallery and Open Library.