SAGADA, Mountain Province – Foreign and domestic tourists may start visiting this mystical town by September or when President Rodrigo Duterte shall have lifted the prevailing national public health emergency in the country.
However, Mayor James Pooten II stated that by the time that the town will be open for tourists, it will be mandatory for tourists to register in the online registration platform that will be launched in the future to control the number of visitors that will be flocking to the municipality to enjoy its scenic tourist destinations.
He disclosed that regional tourism officials will be visiting the municipality next month to have a dry run of the online registration platform and accredit the different tourism establishments in preparation for the gradual and safe revival of the tourism industry which had been heavily impacted by the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In an earlier meeting by the municipal inter-agency task force for emerging infectious diseases, the local chief executive disclosed that there was an agreement that was reached that the tourism-related activities will be opened by September this year with the initial 50 percent capacity of the inns and other tourism-related establishments that are securing their business permits from the local government.
Ironically, he stipulated that the tourism department is trying to impose that the 50 percent capacity of the tourism-related establishments will be based on the capacity of the accredited establishments, thus, the same must be settled by the concerned parties to ensure that there will be no confusion among tourists and frontliners once the municipality will start accepting visitors.
Pooten explained that if the basis of the 50 percent allowed capacity will be the registered tourism-related establishments, at least 1,500 people could be accommodated in a day but if the tourism department will impose that the basis of the capacity will be on the accredited establishments, then it will surely be a different story.
He urged the tourism department to consider the practicality of things during these difficult times as people are now trying hard to look for alternative sources of livelihood to be able to survive the hardships of life caused by the pandemic, thus, they should be considerate in the enforcement of rules and regulations to allow the local economy to gradually and safely open.
He revealed that it will be mandatory for prospective visitors to register in the town’s online registration platform that will be rolled out anytime so that the municipal government will be able to derive the actual data of tourist arrivals among others to serve as a guide for decision-makers and policy formulators in crafting future policies governing the conduct of tourism-related establishments in the municipality.
Pooten admitted that tourism industry stakeholders are eager to resume their business operations to be able to bounce back from the heavy impacted that was inflicted by the pandemic to the town’s major source of livelihood that is why concerned government agencies and the local government must closely work for the betterment of the greater majority of the populace who had been searching for the resumption of their economic activities. By HENT