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Bicol tourist sites opening mulled

LEGAZPI CITY --- The opening of over a hundred tourism sites in Bicol to domestic tourist from other regions would depend on the outcome of a tourism stakeholders meeting set next week by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Bicol regional office.

Fe Buela DOT Bicol officer-in-charge, said plans are being ironed out in consultation with local government units (LGUs) and industry stakeholder especially with regard to their respective travel and health protocols in the different tourism sites expected to be opened for domestic travelers.

Buela in an interview on Wednesday, Oct. 21, said some LGUs are amenable to reopen their tourism sites for domestic travelers on conditions that travel and health protocols are strictly enforced, “Camarines Sur has agreed to open its tourism destination,” she added.

She said they are working out plans to gradually reopen travel and tour activities on a “pilot” basis in the region.

The DOT will also be consulting the Bicol Regional Tourism Council (BRTC) to draw-up tourism events and safety nets to recover the multi-million revenues losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Buela said the opening of the tourism sites would take place soon once the agreement with LGU and the BRTC is approved.

She said 104 sites across the region were earlier reopened including beach resorts, island destinations, natural tourism areas (mountain, waterfalls, and river cruising), cultural and historical places, and landmark sites for provincial residents where the tourist spots are located.

She said those tourism sites earlier allowed to operate were directed to strictly enforce the minimum health requirements by the IATF including the wearing of face mask, face shield, washing of hands, and physical distancing.

Visitors would also be required to book on-line three days before their expected arrival and to present a travel pass, medical certificate, and swab test result.

The DOT said to recover the multi-million economic impact on the local tourism industry by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis, it has also heightened the promotion of agri-tourism.

Bicol region currently has 16 farm sites, which highlight agricultural products, research developments, farm exhibits, and farmers' training.

Among the farm sites opened for travel tours are the: Hibiscus Trekker’s Camp in Tigaon town; Inarihan Farm Resort in Naga City; LRV-Agri Science Far in Calabanga; MikeLiz Integrated Farm also in Calabanga; Sonrisa Farm in Magarao; and AO Techno Science Park @ OADP at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture in Pili all in Camarines Sur.

In Albay, opened were the: Aguas Farm in Sto. Domingo; Albay Farmer’s Bounty Village; Elmiro De Shei Integrated Farm; and Solong Eco Park and Tours, all in Camalig; and Villa Miranda Farm and Resorts in Libon.

In Sorsogon, now open to visitors are the Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm in Bulusan and Barcelona Agrihope Tourism Farm in Barcelona.

In Masbate, opened were the Casa Eduardo Agri-farm Resort in Claveria and Uma Koinonia in Masbate City. In Camarines Norte, on the other hand, JSMS Organic Farm and Agribusiness in Jose Panganiban has been allowed to accept visitors.

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