ATOK, Benguet – The municipal government wants all tourism sites in the municipality to register to ensure the proper monitoring of their operations to conform to the prevailing standards that will pave the way for the gradual and safe revival of the local tourism industry that was heavily impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Franklin Smith stated that the municipal government is crafting a comprehensive master plan for the town’s tourism industry, aside from working out the appointment of a municipal tourism action officer to be in charge of all tourism-related activities in the municipality.
He pointed out the need to put things in their proper perspective on the local tourism industry that is why he sent two of the staff of the municipal government for training by the tourism department for them to be in charge of the regulation of the local tourism industry to avoid confusion by the concerned stakeholders.
Aside from being registered with the municipal government for the establishment of a directory of tourist destinations in the municipality, Mayor Smith also advised owners of private tourist spots to improve their facilities and amenities, such as the availability of sufficient parking spaces within their properties, the provision of clean comfort rooms and the offering of quality food for their customers.
He admitted that tourism and agriculture are two of the town’s major economic drivers that is why concerned stakeholders improve the tourism sites to entice tourists to visit the municipality and contribute to the revival of the local tourism industry.
At present, the municipality is getting a fair share of tourist arrivals numbering to around 350 daily but this number significantly increases during weekends where there is a noticeable movement of people in tourist destinations inside and outside the province.
Smith underscored that the town’s tourist sites must be ready to accommodate the expected significant increase in the number of tourist arrivals by the end of the year so that people will be enticed to frequent the municipality anytime of the year and contribute in generating jobs for qualified residents and the economic activities of the people.
He revealed that the municipal government and relevant government agencies will conduct the necessary consultations with the concerned tourism industry stakeholders to inform them of the municipal guidelines governing the operation of tourist spots for them to inform foreign and domestic visitors.
Smith expressed hope that the local tourism industry can sustain its initial gains so that those who were earlier employed by establishments in the tourist sites can sustain their jobs while others can regain their economic activities and sources of livelihood which they had been their major source of income.