Atok, Benguet is finalizing its tourism ordinance, which includes reiteration of proper dress code and respect for culture.
Mayor Raymundo Sarac said the tourism plan contains proposed areas for improvement such as construction of waiting sheds, toilets, and foot trails, among other facilities.
The proposed ordinance, which is on public hearing, will contain the provisions for environmental fees and fines for violators of the code.
“When the tourism plan and ordinance are approved, it is a good start because we cannot restrict tourists if we do not have basis,” Sarac said.
The proposed ordinance contains a provision requiring tourists to wear appropriate clothes when visiting Atok as a respect to their culture.
“Atok is one of the cold places, and if you are in a cold place, you should wear jacket and not skimpy clothes,” he said.
He said the terrain of the municipality is also different from the lowlands so having appropriate clothes when visiting would add a layer of protection to tourists in case of untoward incidents.
The proposed ordinance would also require tourists to undergo orientation before proceeding to the tourist sites.
If approved, the tourism plan will be submitted to the Department of Tourism, along with their proposals for the improvement of the tourist sites.
Last week, Tourism Sec. Bernadette Puyat visited the municipality as part of the agency’s evaluation of tourism sites in this pandemic.
Puyat visited the Sakura Park and Northern Blossom flower farm, two of the famous sites in the town.
The secretary encouraged flower growers to improve their facilities while waiting for the go-signal for the reopening of tourist sites and activities.
Sarac said Atok hopes to open its tourist sites by September. – Ofelia C. Empian