SAGADA, Mountain Province – The municipal inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases fixed the limit of tourist arrivals in the municipality to at most three thousand two hundred following the continuous decline in the number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases over the past several weeks.
Mayor James Pooten stated that the decision to increase the limit of daily tourist arrivals in the municipality is part of the ongoing efforts of the municipal government to gradually and safely open the town’s tourism industry to regain its pre-pandemic vibrance.
While the significant increase in the ceiling of daily tourist arrivals means that the town is now open for visitors, the municipal chief executive clarified that travelers are still required to present their authentic vaccine cards aside from pre-registering with the municipal government’s online registration platform umalikayosagada.gov.ph.
Mayor Pooten explained that the number of visitors allowed entry in the municipality is the actual bed occupancy of the various accommodation establishments accredited by both the municipal government and the tourism department.
Earlier, the municipal government started accepting travelers several months ago with a daily limit of 300 to avoid any incident that may cause surges in cases that will compromise the limited local health care system.
Pooten reminded travelers to ensure their compliance to the required minimum public health standards to ensure their health and safety and that of the people whom they will interact with while visiting the various tourist spots in the municipality.
According to him, there has been a significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the municipality daily since public transportation was allowed, thus the local government is trying to make sure that both residents and visitors will comply with the health and safety protocols.
The mayor admitted that local tourism industry stakeholders and other members of the town’s economic sector had suffered the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 2 years thus efforts are being made by the concerned government agencies and the municipal government to allow the safe and gradual revival of the local economy for the affected residents to regain their jobs and resume their economic activities.
He lauded the resilience of the people as they were able to survive the negative impact of the implementation of the series of lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus and the ongoing easing up of the restrictions to restore jobs of displaced workers and resume other sources of livelihood.
He expressed hope that the alert level of the province will be further downgraded in the coming months so that the gains of the local tourism sector will be sustained to normalize the economy.