BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson urged the tourism sector to explore the resources of the province so it can recover swiftly from the coronavirus pandemic.
Lacson led the virtual opening of the 20th Tourism Week yesterday that will run until September 27.
In his message, the governor said that while the world is facing the devastating consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism is one of the most affected sectors in society.
With all the restrictions placed on travel and public gathering at the onset of the pandemic, the industry is now at a virtual standstill, he said.
He said, “The sector may have proven its resilience against the many crises in the past, but the impact of Covid-19 has been so overwhelming and immediate that we are plunged into uncertainty in the face of this unseen and unforeseen adversary.”
“In celebrating the Tourism Week, we are reminded that it is incumbent upon us to do our part in revitalizing tourism in the province amid the current challenges,” he said, as he assured that the provincial government is strongly committed to the task.
He said, “I encourage those in the tourism sector to explore how we can best use our resources so we can recover swiftly while keeping in mind the health and safety of our fellow Negrenses, as well as our visitors, by ensuring that tourist sites, destinations, and facilities are observing the minimum health standards.”
He also urged Negrenses to commit to work together for the recovery of the tourism industry of the province.
Provincial Tourism Officer Jennylind Cordero said the province is following five priorities to restart tourism.
These are mitigating socio-economic impacts on livelihood, boost competitiveness and build resilience in the community, advance innovation and digital transformation of tourism, foster sustainability and green growth, and enhance, focus on coordination and responsible leadership.
Meanwhile, the provincial government recognized yesterday the local government units and tourism officers in the Tourism Excellence Awards.
The Best City Tourism Officer is Helen Arguelles Cutillar of Sagay City, while the Best Municipal Tourism Officer is Amirose Lavilla of Calatrava.
Best Tourism Office was Sipalay City, and Cadiz City and San Carlos City came in second and third place, respectively.
The Best Marketing Video award went to Sipalay City, Salvador Benedicto, and Murcia.
The top 10 contributors to tourism in the province were Sipalay, San Carlos, Kabankalan City, Cadiz, San Enrique, Talisay City, La Carlota City, Bago City, Sagay City, and Hinobaan.*