The Department of Tourism (DOT) has allotted over P4.4 million budget for the province’s tourism recovery program as part of efforts to boost tourism activities in Negros Occidental.
In a recent virtual ceremony, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the earmarked fund was made possible by the DOT, through its attached agency Tourism Promotions Board (TRB), for the recovery program which is expected to begin this month until February 2022.
According to Puyat, projects under the tourism recovery program include the development of a Negros Occidental VISITA app which is a local contact tracing platform, as well as the production of videos to promote the province’s tourist destinations under the new normal.
“While the DOT’s recovery programs for the tourism industry are still in the initial stages, we hope that financial assistance programs for displaced workers can help our tourism employees get back on their feet,” Puyat added.
The DOT, with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), earlier approved over P221 million cash assistance to a total of 44,362 displaced tourism workers in the Western Visayas region.
The one-time financial aid of P5,000 each is provided under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) which was implemented through the Joint Memorandum Circular 2020-001 signed by Puyat and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III under the Bayanihan 2.
For his part, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the two agencies, adding that the government is trying its best to mitigate the ill effects of the pandemic.
“While waiting for the day that this crisis will end, let us remain resilient and adaptable. For now, please use the grant given to you judiciously,” Lacson said during the virtual ceremony.
Negros Occidental is home to many tourist spots such as heritage sites, islands, sandbars, and beach and mountain resorts.
Of the 658 DOT-accredited accommodation establishments in Western Visayas, 19 percent or 122 establishments are located in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City.