The Cordillera office of the Department of Tourism (DOT-CAR) is targeting at least 1 million tourist arrivals by the end of this year as part of the ongoing gradual and safe revival of the region’s tourism industry and economy.
DOT-CAR regional director Jovita Ganongan stated that from January to September this year, there were already more than 608,000 foreign and domestic tourists that visited the various tourist destinations around the region, a good sign that the heavily impacted tourism industry is gaining head.
However, she claimed that the projected more than 1 million tourist arrivals by the end of the year is just 50 percent of the more than 2 million tourist arrivals that was documented prior to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DOT-CAR regional director pointed out that the agency is doing its part in marketing and promoting the region’s tourism industry to help in enticing foreign and domestic visitors to include in their itineraries their preferred tourist destinations in the region to help bring back the vibrance of the industry.
Ganongan disclosed that the agency, together with the local governments and the private sector, are closely working to develop tour circuits and packages that will entice foreign and domestic visitors to consider the Cordillera destinations as their must-see areas to visit when preparing their travels.
According to her, the Cordillera tourist destinations are mainly for the European market but efforts are now being done to market the region to other nationalities for them to visit the usual scenic tourist spots and other emerging destinations for them to be able to explore the wonder and beauty of the region.
Further, Director Ganongan emphasized that the resumption of face-to-face conduct of the region’s various festivals starting next year will definitely entice visitors to move around the region which will contribute in reviving the heavily impacted industry and economy.
She asserted that what is lacking in the region is an airport to help attract more tourists interested to visit the region but lack time to move around, thus, the resumption of domestic flights to the Loakan airport will definitely boost the market for tourists from the Visayas and Mindanao.
Moreover, she explained that Kalinga and Apayao are being positioned near the Tuguegarao City airport in Cagayan with Ifugao being accessible via the Cauayan airport in Isabela.
Ganongan revealed that the emergence of new attractions and destinations in the different parts of the region will also be instrumental in spur employment opportunities for the displaced workers and increased economic activities and sources of livelihood for the people in the said places.
Earlier, the Cordillera had been envisioned as an eco-tourism destination in the north due to its numerous nature destinations that are worthy of visit.