Tourism chief plans to introduce digital travel app for NegOcc
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Department of Tourism (DOT) is aiming to revive the tourism industry which was hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who arrived yesterday in Negros Occidental for a three-day visit.
During the virtual press conference, Puyat said the reason for her visit in the province is to check the situation of the local tourism industry as well as to provide assistance to the displaced and flexi-time tourism workers.
Since the start of the pandemic, Puyat said the tourism industry had suffered staggering losses.
The DOT, in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) under the Bayanihan 2, has supported the tourism workers.
In Western Visayas, DOT Region 6 has endorsed 1,245 tourism enterprises, tour guides, and community-based tourism associations with 45,167 target beneficiaries as of January 13, 2021.
Out of the endorsements, DOLE-6 has approved and paid out 10,180 beneficiaries amounting to P50.9 million.
Of the total approved beneficiaries, 1,754 are from Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, with a total payout of P8.7 million.
Puyat is also set to talk with local chief executives on how to implement health and safety protocols for tourists.
She said she is happy to see that the province and Bacolod City are strictly implementing the health protocols, adding she has not spotted any individual not wearing a face mask.
“It’s been proven that kung nagma-mask, bumababa rin ang cases,” she said.
Puyat added the DOT had been subsidizing the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for tourists in Metro Manila, pointing out it would encourage tourists to travel again.
Meanwhile, Puyat is also aiming to introduce a digital travel app for Negros Occidental similar to the one used in Baguio City in order to further encourage tourists to visit the province again.
The digital travel app, she said, will also inform travelers of what are the current protocols and requirements, and once they complete it, they will receive a QR code which they can show to local authorities when traveling.
The Tourism chief is also expected to visit various farm sites, heritage houses and food tourism areas in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental to boost domestic tourism and to mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis to the tourism industry./DGB, WDJ