“Enchanting Camotes” starts luring more tourists amid pandemic

Published May 4, 2021, 9:06 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CAMOTES ISLAND, Cebu – Tourism activities in San Francisco town, one of the top tourist destinations here, have started to pick up.

COOL DIP. Two visitors take an early morning dip in one of the resorts in San Francisco town, Camotes Island. (Calvin Cordova/Manila Bulletin)

San Francisco Mayor Alfredo Arquillano Jr. said the town’s tourism industry is slowly getting back on its feet after it was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The island, composed of four towns, is known for its tourism slogan “Enchanting Camotes.”
“I don’t have the figures but the loss of revenue because of COVID-19 was huge. Businesses were forced to close and workers were displaced. But now, businesses are slowly getting back,” Arquillano said.
Regular boat trips to Camotes has resumed, greatly helping the island attract more local tourists despite the current health crisis, said Arquillano.
Arquillano said the town was able to manage its COVID-19 efforts well by stepping up its contact tracing efforts and ensuring the readiness of its quarantine facilities.
“We strongly encourage our constituents to follow minimum health protocols. We discourage unnecessary gatherings. We can see now that the people feel that there is no longer cause for alarm,” said Arquillano.   
Those who plan to visit the island need to carefully plan their trips as room accommodations and boat tickets are selling fast especially on weekends or during holidays.
With a population of at least 60,000 people, San Francisco has a lot to offer for adventure seekers, Arquillano stressed.
“We have the Lake Danao, we have hundreds of caves. We are surrounded by white sand beaches, we really have a lot of nice beaches and some have yet to be developed fully,” Arquillano said.
A staffer of a resort here revealed that it is during weekends that they get more visitors.
“The volume of visitors has yet to return to normal but at least were getting bookings already unlike before. Our visitors are usually from Cebu and Ormoc City. Some are also from Manila,” the staffer said.