January 29, 2023

Travel to local tourist destinations remains safe, as long as visitors observe utmost precautions, the Department of Tourism said.
DOT-Cordillera Officer-in-Charge Jovita Ganongan said travel to local tourist destinations is the better alternative at this time when international tourism is facing a setback due to the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
She said travel to local tourist areas is safe as long as visitors adhere to the protocols set by the Department of Health to ensure health and wellness.
Ganongan said the DOT respects the decision of some local government units to declare their tourist spots off limits in the meantime and to suspend tourism-related events in their areas as a precaution against Covid-19.
“We respect the decision of local chief executives as managers of local tourist destinations because in the end, they will be the ones who will be held accountable,” Ganongan said.
She however said that generally, local travel is still an option, as long as tourists take necessary precautions and follow health protocols.
The DOH is advising the public to avoid crowded places and to continue practicing self-protection measures amidst the threats posed by Covid-19.
Among the LGUs that cancelled the holding of crowd-drawing events are La Trinidad, Benguet for the Strawberry Festival; Tadian, Mountain Province for the Ayyoweng di Lambak ed Tadian; and Kalinga’s Ayoweng Chi Gangsa.
The other LGUs that suspended tourism-related activities are Atok, Kabayan, Kapangan, and Bakun in Benguet; Sagada in Mountain Province; and Balbalan and Pasil in Kalinga.
To compensate for the temporary setback on tourism, Ganongan recommended for stakeholders to initiate capacity-building among their staff members and for LGUs to iron out their tourism development plans.
“They should take this as an opportunity to review and craft or come up with clear tourism guidelines and capacitate their staff in anticipation to the boom in tourism once things go back to normal,” she said.
The DOT, she said, is hoping to fast-track the conduct of its own capacity-building initiatives in tourist areas while there is a lull in the industry. – Jane B. Cadalig