Camiguin, reffered to as the “Island Born of Fire,” is now preparing to welcome tourists back on its shores next week — the province’s first time opening since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In time with its reopening on Oct. 25, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has rolled out various initiatives to boost tourism in Camiguin including the vaccination of industry workers there.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said a total of 3,071 tourism workers in Camiguin have already received their jabs against COVID-19 or 67 percent of the 4,591 target beneficiaries from the sector.
These include employees in hotels and resorts, restaurants, dive shops, souvenir stores, boatmen, transport groups, salons, government frontline service, tour guides, as well as workers in supermarkets and financial establishments.
The DOT and the Camiguin provincial government vowed to continue the vaccination program in the province as they aim to inoculate the remaining 1,543 tourism workers by the end of October to achieve a 100 percent inoculation rate for the sector.
“With a healthy and 100 percent protected workforce, we are optimistic that we can provide greater focus on the task of recovery, and bring the fun back to tourism in Camiguin,” Puyat said.
“I congratulate everyone in Camiguin for doing their best to keep the pandemic under control, and vaccination programs, such as this one, aim to further reduce the number, as well as the severity of cases,” Puyat stressed.
The DOT, through its Region 10 Office, has also implemented projects and programs to help revive Camiguin’s tourism industry in the new normal such as the production of promotional and safety materials, a travelogue series promoting the province’s beautiful spots, and the Mindanao Tourism Circuit development to boost intraregional and interregional travel in Mindanao.
Camiguin was among the top 10 tourist destinations in the country as identified by the DOT. It would also be the first province in Northern Mindanao to reopen for tourism since the beginning of the pandemic.
Despite being a small province, Camiguin boasts a wide array of tourist attractions including the ASEAN Heritage Park Mt. Timpoong-Hibok-Hibok mountain range, unspoiled white island beaches such as the Mantigue Island, the Sunken Cemetery, pristine diving spots, natural hot and cold springs, and waterfalls.
The annual celebration of the Lanzones Festival as thanksgiving for the harvest of the island’s famous fruit was also a crowd drawer before the pandemic.
Ahead of Camiguin’s reopening, three accommodation establishments in the province were awarded by the DOT and the local government a Safety Seal certification for their compliance to minimum health standards.
“I am hopeful that many more of Camiguin’s resorts will earn and proudly display this standard of global excellence very soon,” Puyat said.