BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
The newly-installed officer-in-charge of the Department of Tourism in Western Visayas, Christine Mansinares, is encouraging resorts, bars, and restaurants to apply for accreditations with the agency to check their operational readiness.
Mansinares said that, so far, only 1,039 tourism-related establishments in the region are accredited with the DOT, 79 of those in Bacolod, and 138 from the towns and cities of Negros Occidental.
She said that it is vital for tourism-related establishments to apply for accreditation so that the agency could ensure that health and other safety guidelines are being followed.
She said that tourism-related establishments that are not yet accredited by the DOT should start applying now because it has already waived the application fee amid the pandemic.
Mansinares also said that the DOT in the region continues efforts to help displaced workers in the tourism industry through the cash assistance program under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2, in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment.
DOT 6 records show that there were about 1,754 displaced tourism workers, who received P8.7 million in cash assistance, through the DOT-DOLE Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program.
The tourism industry in the region remains as one of the most affected sectors by the pandemic, with the number of tourists, especially in key destinations like Boracay, Iloilo, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental dwindling, Mansinares said.
She said they are hoping the tourism sector will also be prioritized by the government in the vaccination program rollout.
Mansinares assumed the post vacated by DOT 6 director Helen Catalbas, who retired yesterday. She was formerly the agency’s operation officer in the region and had served as tourism officer of Sipalay City.*