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Farm tourism to help industry recover: Execs

Showcasing the farms and the ecosystem of tourist destinations in the Davao Region will be the priority of the regional office of the Department of Tourism, its top official said.

Regional Director Tanya Rabat-Tan said the regional office is looking at enhancing the promotions of farm tourism as it wants tourists to experience how farming is done.

“Another strength that we have is eco-tourism, nature-based tours,” Rabat-Tan said, adding that these tourist destinations are accessible.

Farm tourism, said Arturo M. Milan, Mindanao governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will allow the industry to slow get back to its feet after the global industry suffered devastation as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We have so many farms that we can showcase especially to the locals and this is the time for these farms to shine,” Milan told TIMES in a phone conversation.

On the reopening of the tourism establishments, Rabat-Tan said, “they will only be catering to local tourists first.”

Rabat-Tan pointed out that leisure travel between regions and other origins outside the region is still not allowed even with the implementation of the modified general community quarantine in the region, except Davao City.

At present, the regional office has started drafting a social marketing campaign to educate both the tourists and the establishments on how to adopt to the new normal.

The important things right now, she added, are “carrying capacity, site management and visitor management (are observed).”

On helping establishments recover from the pandemic as well as prepare them for disasters like the earthquake, the agency, said Rabat-Tan, is continually training the establishments in re-skilling and upscaling their skills as well as on how to be responsive to these unforeseen events.

The agency has also started training establishments on how to do digital marketing, considering that the cyberspace has become the biggest platform for business promotions.

Among the areas that have started opening their tourist destinations are Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro.

Miguel V. Trocio, provincial tourism officer of Davao Oriental, said about 300 establishments in the province have resumed operations since Friday even as he said that his office has been trying to educate the tourists and the establishments on the “new normal,” like the strict implementation of health protocols.

In a press statement, Trocio said the resumption of operations came about after the provincial task force on the virus met with establishment owners to brief them on steps that they should do so they could reopen.

Under the guidelines, establishments are required that operational capacity must be limited to 50% of their regular capacity to ensure that physical distancing and that visitors, aside from requiring them to wear face masks, will have to fill out forms on their travel history and health status.

Establishments, on the other hand, are also required to implement temperature screening and disinfection, set up sanitizing foot baths, floor markers, and hand sanitizers.

Dr. Reden V. Bersaldo, ordered business operators to set up isolation rooms “in case there are guests who develop symptoms.”

“It (isolation room) will serve as a containment area while the authorities are being coordinated for appropriate action,” said Bersaldo.

In Davao de Oro, Christine Dumpor, provincial tourism officer, said only those that have been accredited after their establishments are evaluated will be allowed to operate.

The municipal tourism officers are required to do the assessment as the province is gearing to reopen their establishments, said Dumpor.

At present, she added, the provincial government is also trying to help small establishments access loans so that they can sustain operations.

Tourism operations in the Island Garden City of Samal will only resume on July 1, said Mayor Al-David T. Uy, adding that those that want to operate need to secure certification as they are to be required to follow stringent health protocols.

Uy said that violation of the protocols may result in the revocation of the registration of the establishments.

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