LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – After the province was placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), hotels and other accommodation facilities in Ilocos Norte have started to operate anew after months of closure due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to Ilocos Norte Provincial Information Officer Rhona Ysabel Daoang, about 50 hotels and accommodation facilities have already reopened in the different towns and cities in the province.
“The requirements for the reopening of the other establishments are under process,” she said.
The Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) reported that over 90 hotels, resorts, and transient houses have been issued with special permits to operate by the provincial government of Ilocos Norte.
Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel said the processing of the special permit to operate for the hotels and accommodation facilities in the province was still ongoing.
“The owners of the hotels and accommodation facilities will apply for the Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) in the Department of Tourism (DOT) followed by the application for a special permit to operate in Ilocos Norte provincial government,” Raquel said.
The purpose for the reopening of establishments should be identified before they are allowed to operate as a quarantine facility for returning residents, accommodation place for Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), or for leisure.
Tourism was one of the sectors most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with hotels, resorts and other accommodation facilities losing most, especially when they were kept shut during the usually profitable summer season.
“This time is difficult for accommodation establishments. Right now, we are mitigating the impacts of the pandemic as we are already towards our transition to the ‘new normal.’ We have talked to Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc for the possibility of providing more programs for them, along with travel agencies, tour operators, and other members of the tourism sector. We’re finding a way to make sure that they can reopen and more importantly, dapat ma-lessen yung nawawalan ng trabaho,” Raquel emphasized.
He also reiterated the importance of safety in the establishments.
“Our tourism sector is very resilient and we hope that everybody will prioritize safety no matter how difficult it is. We continue to move forward because this is our best guarantee as we will be the ideal choice for travelers in the ‘new normal.’ Hopefully, we will recover. We are doing our best to find the best benchmark for the province,” Raquel added.
The provincial government continues to encourage accommodation establishments to register, as this will guarantee them continuous business operation under the “new normal”.