ILOILO City tourism is one of the important sectors that have an impact on the development of its community and economy.
Tourism helps boost revenues, creates thousands of jobs, and contributes towards more economic activities.
This year, tourist arrivals have been limited due to travel restrictions brought about by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
City Tourism and Development Office head Junel Ann. P. Divinagracia presented to Mayor Jerry P. Treñas five recommendations on how to revive the tourism industry.
First, is to establish a sense of safety and security. Compliance officers are deployed all over the city to ensure all health safety standards and requirements ordered by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) are properly observed.
“Health protocols in tourism establishments shall be enforced. Establishments shall comply with a Certificate of Authority to Operate from the Department of Tourism (DOT). There will be Covid Testing Center, and swabbing booths at the airport and seaport,” Divinagracia said.
Second, is to prepare the tourism sector for the new normal. There should be a mandatory accreditation of tourism establishments by the Department of Tourism and Department of the Interior and Local Government.
A series of online training and re-training of tourism frontline workers like taxi drivers and tour guides are needed.
Improvement of tourism sites and tourism product development are also important.
Also, more bike lanes will be established to support the growing biking community in the city.
Third, will be the opening of tourist sites and establishments to locals and inter-region travelers. There should be opening of museums, bars and entertainment centers, and coffee shops until night or before curfew, and conduct of local products exhibitions.
Fourth, is the support to local activities, events, and celebrations to continue with adherence to health and safety protocols particularly the Iloilo City Charter Day on August 25, Iloilo Arts Festival in October, and December Festival of Lights, among others.
The last one is to push through concurrent tourism promotions. There will be an Iloilo City Tourism Photo/Vlogging Contest to encourage locals to visit and promote tourism sites.
They can also utilize the traction that Iloilo City has gained in the news and internet because of its Covid initiatives.
Moreover, the Mural Project will go on, and virtual tours will be initiated to excite domestic tourism. (Beatriz Angelica Pequierda)