The Department of Tourism in Western Visayas (DOT-6) will respect the decision of local government units (LGUs) in holding or canceling events amid the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, threat.
“We support if they pursue or cancel the programs and projects relating to tourism that is spearheaded by the local government units. It’s the local government unit’s call,” Helen Catalbas, DOT 6 regional director said recently.
Catalbas said the safety of the citizens must be the first consideration of local government units in holding or canceling events.
“If there are events that will pursue, the local government concerned should put precautionary measures for these events not to become a way for the spread of the virus,” she said.
One example of the LGU being the one to decide regarding their events is Pintados de Passi Festival, which will push through on the third week of March based on previous interviews with Passi City Mayor Stephen Palmares.
Palmares assured precautionary measures are in place to prevent the spread of the virus in the festival, which draws an estimated 100,000 revelers annually.
Meanwhile, the regional director bared the province of Aklan, particularly Boracay Island is the “hardest hit” by the coronavirus scare in terms of tourist bookings.
There are also booking cancelations in hotels in this city, she said.
“Boracay is the hardest hit of all based on our survey. There are other cancellations here in Iloilo City. Other destinations have not reported cancellations because of Covid,” she said.
Although the regional director was unable to identify the percentage of the decline, she said the DOT 6 is replacing the decrease with “aggressive promotion.”
“Whatever or how much is the decline, our answer to that is the hotels in Boracay and Iloilo City has promotional rates,” she said.
For instance, she said the summer promotions of the tourism establishments are given publicity support by the tourism department.
The DOT 6 is also pushing to strengthen the umbrella campaign “Experience Western Visayas first.” She said the 8 million people in Western Visayas can greatly help the tourism industry.
“With our bid to protect our health is our appeal to the people of Western Visayas to visit local destinations. Our private sector is willing to give big discounts to those who are from Western Visayas,” she said. (PNA)