Sunday, April 21, 2024

DOT Pushes For Tourism Boost In Other Cordillera Provinces

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DOT Pushes For Tourism Boost In Other Cordillera Provinces

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Refresher courses for medical and tourism sector frontliners as well as culinary training are continuously being done to boost tourism in other areas of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), an official said Tuesday.

Department of Tourism-CAR (DOT-CAR) Regional Director Jovita Ganongan told the Philippine News Agency that the training programs, attended by more than 6,000 stakeholders since 2020, are meant to spur the tourism sectors of other provinces in the region and ensure that tourists will not only visit Baguio City.

“We have gone around the provinces and they are ready for the tourists. They have very good destinations and they have been prepared already,” she said.

During the pandemic, some 25,000 tourism sector workers in CAR received government aid.

Citing DOT data, Ganongan said the country’s “Summer Capital” remains to have the lion’s share of tourist arrivals in 2023 at around 1.5 million compared to the more than 1.6 million total arrivals in the whole region.

In 2022, Cordillera recorded a total of 1.28 million tourist arrivals and officials are targeting to breach the pre-pandemic number of two million tourist arrivals for this year.

Ganongan said she was recently in the province of Apayao and one of the province’s unique attractions is the Apayao River.

She explained that before the construction of roads, people from the municipalities of Calanasan, Pudtol, and Luna took a river cruise along the Apayao River to go to Kabugao, the province’s capital.

“That old means of transportation on the Apayao River is a very unique attraction for them and it can already be used for tourism purposes…The river is very clear (that) you can see the fishes, And you are cruising amid virgin forests, which is a very refreshing experience,” she said.

She said the experience can either be an hour, half-day, or a whole-day eco-tour.

She, however, cited the need for additional investments in restaurants and accommodation to be able to cater to more tourists.

“To me, it is a ready destination. It just needs more promotion, which we will do for them,” she said.

Ganongan also noted that Luna, Pudtol, and Sta. Marcela Circuit, which are close to Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) and Ilocos Norte, are also set for tourism activities.

Relatively, she said the province of Kalinga, which she visited during the Bodong Festival and the province’s foundation anniversary in the second week of this month, is also tourism-ready given its cultural and eco-tourism destinations and attractions.

Ganongan said the region recorded 1.6 million tourist arrivals in 2023, up from 1.28 million in the previous year.

“We are on the right track to reach our pre-pandemic numbers of two million. Our goal is to disperse from Baguio to the provinces” she added. (PNA)