ATOK, Benguet – The municipal government welcomed the continuous increase in tourist arrivals in various tourist destinations in the municipality that started late last year to date that will greatly contribute in the ongoing efforts to gradually and safely recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially to the local economy.
Mayor Franklin Smith said that the increase in the influx of visitors over the past several months is a good sign, especially for tourism-related establishments that had been badly struck by the pandemic over the past 3 years for them to be able to bring back the vibrance of their respective operations.
From the previous average of approximately 500 tourists arrivals daily, he claimed that the number of daily tourist arrivals have reached up to 1,500, especially during weekends and at the height of the frost that served as one of the reasons why visitors flocked to the municipality to personally witness the occurrence of frost during the cold weather.
The local chief executive stipulated that tourism is one of the industries being eyed by the local government as the source of income for the municipality aside from agriculture and other related industries to be able to help maintain a good state of the environment that will be passed on to the future generations of inhabitants.
Atok is known to be host to various agri-tourism destinations being frequented by foreign and domestic tourists who want to explore potential nature destinations where they will be able to spend their well-deserved break.
Mayor Smith disclosed that the local government advised tourism industry stakeholders to ensure that their establishments have the necessary parking spaces and clean comfort rooms so that they will be able to conform with the standards being imposed by the tourism department for them to be able to entice more visitors to frequent their destinations.
According to him, the local tourism industry is playing a vital role in the ongoing recovery efforts initiated by the concerned government agencies and the local government to allow displaced workers to get back their lost jobs and bring back the robust economic activities that have sustained the sources of income of the people in the town’s barangays.
He commended the local tourism sector for their ability to comply with the needed improvements to their facilities to conform with the prescribed standards for them to be allowed to continue and expand their operations for the benefit of the greater majority of the populace living in the various communities around the frequented tourist spots in the municipality.
Atok is one of the towns of Benguet located along the stretch of the Baguio-Bontoc Road otherwise known as the Halsema highway that is why tourists wanting to go to the central Cordillera can drop by the famous tourist destinations in the locality before proceeding to their journey towards Mountain Province and Ifugao.
Smith extended the invitation to foreign and domestic tourists wanting to explore new sceneries to drop by the municipality for them to be able to explore the wonders of Atok and for them to spread the good news to other tourists.