AS THE tourism industry continues to fuel economic activity in Central Visayas, the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 warned against lax security procedures in resorts and hotels.
DOT 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano, during a counter-terrorism awareness meeting conducted by the British Embassy on Thursday, April 25, urged tourist guides, resort owners and other stakeholders to practice safety at all times.
“Incidents related to earthquakes and threats on safety will happen when we get relaxed with our safety procedures. Every time you relax, something will happen and that’s the challenge of our industry,” he said in his welcome remarks.
Tamano said similar meetings and trainings are needed, following the attack on churches, malls and hotels in Sri Lanka that claimed more than 200 lives last week.
He said the schedule of the trainings were already set prior to the release of the United Kingdom’s travel advisory warning all its citizens “against all travel,” to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago, as well as “all but essential travel” to the south of Cebu after the deadly Jolo, Sulu cathedral bombing last January.
Around 400 participants joined the two-day trainings held in Bohol and Cebu.
“This is part of our safety and security program in the region. It is really needed. We all know what happened last week in Sri Lanka, and remember, we have 12,000 participants in Cebu for the National Youth Day. This is very important for us,” he said.
Tamano clarified the region remains free from threats but called on stakeholders to continue being vigilant.
“Safety procedures must be in our DNA already. It must be a discipline,” he said.
In 2018, the region enjoyed a spike in tourist arrivals—eight million compared to 2017’s 6.9 million.
Foreign tourist arrivals increased by 25.06 percent with 3.6 million travelers, while domestic arrivals increased by 9.74 percent at 4.4 million.
“We hope that we will maintain this culture of safety, not only today or next month, but always,” he said.
As of November 2018, the DOT 7 has 882 accredited establishments and individuals, has trained 3,545 tourism stakeholders and conducted 47 trainings. (JOB)