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"This is the time for recovery," Ilokano hotelier hopeful as tourism reopens

by PGIN-CMO

Oct. 15, 2020 ...

Owners of accommodation establishment in Ilocos Norte are hopeful for the success of the reopening of tourism in the province, today.

"This pandemic really brings burden to our businesses. Actually, dumating din yung point na gusto naming isara na lang ang negosyo namin. Dati, umaabot hanggang 85% ang mga bookings namin dito [hotel], pero dahil sa pandemiya, naging 3-5% na lang," Mr. Allan Tuppil, a hotelier recalled.

"When I learned about the reopening of tourism sa probinsiya, talagang na-excite ako. We immediately prepared our establishment so we could show our guests that we are ready to accept them, and ready to show them the beauty of this province. Hopefully, this is the time for recovery," he added.

Tourism is one of the powerhouses of Ilocos Norte's economy. The province's natural landscapes, heritage sites, local cuisine, and indigenous culture serve as the source of livelihood of many communities.

Unfortunately, it is currently the hardest-hit by the pandemic. Containment measures and travel restrictions have led to a reduced workforce in travel and accommodation industries. Also, the need for locally manufactured products and commodities has decreased.

"This [reopening of tourism] is a very good thing dahil hindi lang kami sa hotel industry ang natutulungan, lahat ng may negosyo. We could recommend other businesses to our guests for them to explore such as local restaurants, pasalubong centers, at maging ang mga small businesses sa tabing kalsadaLahat ay matutulungan. I'm really looking forward to go back to the normal situation kaya I am really excited for this," Mr. Tuppil expressed.

This pandemic has been challenging all stakeholders of Ilocos Norte's tourism sector since a large percentage of it is composed of small homegrown enterprises and family-owned businesses, thus, involving a large number of informally-employed Ilokanos who are most vulnerable to a sudden loss of income during the peak tourism season.

Almost 170 accommodation establishments in the province were permitted to operate once again through a Special Permit to Operate (SPO) mandated by the Department of Tourism (DOT).