At a press conference held on Feb. 25, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced full assistance to the provincial government’s efforts to safely reopen Negros Oriental to domestic tourists.
Puyat spoke about how the tourism industry took a heavy blow last year due to travel restrictions put in place to combat the spread of Covid19, but says that there has been significant progress in rebuilding Negros Oriental’s tourism.
The DOT will continue to provide support to the provincial government in ensuring that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented as the reopening seeks to bring in more tourists.
Further aid that the DOT will provide includes marketing campaigns, as well as additional technology for contact tracing and guest management, in the form of a digital tool called Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VIS.I.T.A.) through its attached agency Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), and the acquisition of a hyperbaric chamber that increases air pressure to hasten tissue healing.
On Feb. 15 the Municipality of Dauin reopened its dive tourism and will be receiving further workforce aid from the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD), which Puyat chairs.
Regional assistance for displaced tourism workers via the Bayanihan 2 cash assistance program, in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will continue to be provided, as well. In DOT Region 7 1,892 beneficiaries from Negros Oriental, have been endorsed, amounting to a total of over 9.4 million pesos, as of Feb 19.
Puyat encouraged all displaced tourism workers to apply for the assistance program, which is set to run until June 30 this year.
With six cities and over 200 thousand same-day visitors in the last year, Negros Oriental is a population tourist destination, as well as the largest province in Central Visayas.