BRIGHT PROSPECTS FOR CORDILLERA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY

The Cordillera, which is considered as the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon, plays host to numerous untapped destinations that could serve as a major economic driver for the region in the future. The temporary closure of Boracay for a 6-month period should serve as a wakeup call for all local governments not only in the region but also in other parts of the country to start putting things in order in their local tourism programs to guarantee the continuous influx of foreign and domestic tourists that will propel economic activities in the countryside.

Tourism is an important aspect of development because people nowadays have learned to appreciate the beauty of the different places. Every locality in the country or even in the global village has its own distinct identity or destination. The only thing that should be done by concerned stakeholders is to have the creativity and innovation to maximize whatever potentials of a certain place to become an economic driver in their place.

In every community, there are always people who have probably wild ideas about working on certain areas in their place to become potential spots that could be frequented by people wanting to witness new things as part of their rest and recreation activities. Based on studies of concerned government agencies, especially those involved in economics and statistics, Filipinos are actually not that poor because they have sufficient disposable income which they are now using to spend a vacation not only in the different destinations around the country but also in the different parts of the world. The increase in the exemption of taxable income pursuant to the government’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Integration (TRAIN) again gave the people the chance to have more savings and disposable income which they could use for various purposes, especially in spending a well-deserved vacation in their desired places of destinations.

The region is proud of its majestic and towering mountains and hills, scenic waterfalls and unique rice terraces, numerous caving destinations, white water rafting, farm tourism, hot spring resorts, vegetable and flower farms, trekking destinations among others. It is now up to the concerned stakeholders to maximize the wisdom of the thinking people in their community on how to make an obvious barren place, a rocky hill, a simple gathering place, available delicacies which could be converted into long-lasting sources of income not only of the host local governments but also of the ordinary people, thanks, to the innovations that were ad will be introduced by mindful residents wanting to contribute for the overall improvement of the living condition of their fellow townmates.

The tourism department has its own agenda for the development of tourism in the region but it seems that the implementation of the planned and programmed directions is not bringing the region to any higher level. If people talk about the tourism industry of the region, it boils down to Baguio City, Banaue and Sagada only and nothing more amidst the existence of fare more better tourism potentials that remain untapped.

We challenge our tourism industry stakeholders to continue thinking out of the box. We already need fresh ideas to put icing on the cake and make the development of an area robust because of the influx of foreign and domestic visitors who are willing to spend for them to enjoy the scenery of certain places. Let us not be satisfied or contented with what we had been doing because our comfort zones will not lead us anywhere as it will just make the industry idle in the future. We need people who are willing to take the risk just to test the desire of the people on tourism.

The Cordillera does not actually need high profile endorsers just for its local tourism industry to be discovered. We need more people to visit our untapped destinations in other parts of the region like Kalinga, Apayao and Abra so that people will be enticed to move around to enjoy and not to be confined in visiting a single place every now and then. The ecotourist destinations in the region can provide the desired rest and recreation demands of foreign and domestic visitors. It is just putting in place the needed packaging that will serve as an instant invitation for people around the world to consider a certain place to visit.

Spending a vacation involves long-term planning and investments that is why let us not lose the opportunity of being one of the frequently visited places by sitting on our laurels which will surely be unacceptable to the present and future generation of Cordillerans. Creativity and innovation is the name of the game. Let us elevate the implementation of our tourism programs to a higher degree. Satisfaction and Contentment will lead us to nowhere.

We appeal to our tourism industry stakeholders to start shaping up before they will end up shipping out. Let us not allow our tourism industry to die a natural death but let us make it a robust industry that will be passed on to generations because our primary asset is the beauty of our environment.

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