By Jennifer Catan-Tilos
Pushing for vibrant tourism activities in the province, Negros Oriental has kicked off its domestic tourism to bring back economic and livelihood in tourism.
The province together with the municipality of Dauin gradually reopens its tourism sites for domestic tourists particularly the Baslay Highland Brew Coffee but with the adherence of minimum health and safety protocols in this time of pandemic.
In an opening ceremony, Gov. Roel Degamo together with Vice Gov. Mark Macias and Dauin Mayor Galic Truita pounded the bamboo tube with waters as traditional rites for abundance and prosperity.
Degamo said for as long as the COVID-19 vaccine is not available, it is difficult to mass gather for large tourism activities such as Buglasan Festival which is annually scheduled in October.
For now, the governor is giving importance to rural communities for farm tourism as additional income to farmers and farm workers.
The Baslay Coffee covers 120 hectares of farm plantation known for its homegrown highland brew coffee in 860 meters above sea level.
The facility serves distinctive flavour brewed coffee and is now being visited by local tourists.
Before the pandemic, the coffee shop was frequently visited by foreign tourists.
After the group of officials launched the Baslay Coffee in upland tourist destination, they moved to a beach resort to conduct an oathtaking rite for the newly-organized Dauin Resort Association, Dauin Tourism Council, and Dauin Culture and Arts Council at Silver Reef Dive Resort, Dauin.
This is to stir tourism recovery and domestic tourism with the active participation of the private sector.
Dauin is the hub of tourist sites in the province where Apo Island is known as one of the world’s best dive destinations.
However, Truita said the tourism sector is among the most badly-hit by the pandemic, thus, Dauin is set to intensify its campaign to restart tourism activities in the town.
He said the municipality has noted a shortfall in the revenue of almost 99 percent or a local income of P50-M and the unemployment rate went up to 90 percent from 30 registered resorts which are closed now.
“With the reopening today, we are putting efforts to revive various products and sites and with the cooperation of the stakeholders or private sectors, we can improve and restore the vibrant tourism before and help the town’s economic recovery amid the pandemic,” Truita said.
In support of the celebration of World Tourism Month this September, Negros Oriental encourages the local tourism business to gradually re-open, but putting more efforts on safety and health protocols.