ITOGON, Benguet – The municipal government welcomed the influx of foreign and domestic visitors in the various tourist destinations in the town which will definitely contribute in paving the way for the heavily impacted sectors to recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Bernard S. Waclin said that as per his visits to the different tourist spots, there has been steady increase of foreign and domestic visitors which is a good sign that the impacted economic activities of the people will recover and thrive in the coming months generating more jobs, economic opportunities and income for residents.
Itogon is well-known for its trekking destinations such as Mount Ulap in barangay Ampucao and Mount Ugo in barangay Tinongdan, aside from the resorts in barangay Poblacion.
He claimed that tourism is one of the town’s economic drivers, aside from agriculture and mining, and the local economy is gradually gaining headway to recovery although it might take some time because of the enormous impact of the pandemic to the established sources of livelihood of the people.
The municipal chief executive admitted that local businessmen have been affected by the more than two years of the implementation of various levels of restrictions just to contain the spread of the deadly virus that is why it will surely take some time for them to recover their losses.
According to him, the pandemic also allowed for the natural and human-induced regeneration of the various tourist spots which will allow visitors improved facilities and attractions.
Mayor Waclin expressed hope that the tourist arrivals in the municipality during the pre-pandemic will be exceeded in the coming months as revenge travel is being observed to be occurring with this increase in visitor arrivals which is beneficial to the local tourism industry and the local economy.
The mayor also expects that organizers of the challenging trail races will bring back the various trail-related running events in the municipality to help in aggressively promoting the trekking sites that are suitable to any form of competition, especially in the international level.
He urged residents to sustain the development of their properties which have the potential of becoming must-see destinations so that it will provide visitors with attractions and activities while spending their well-deserved break in the municipality.
During the pre-pandemic period, several international trail running events were conducted in the different parts of the municipality that paved the way for the town to be identified as a major trail running destination in the country.
The municipality is a first-class town that heavily relies on the operation of large-scale mining companies as a source of its internally generated resources.