Iloilo Provincial Tourism Officer Bombette Golez Marin is hoping that the tourism industry will slowly reopen starting next month.

“By October tani ma amat-amat na open ang industry kay may mga clamour na from the sector. Kag gusto gid ni Gov. nga ibalik na tani sila kaso may mga ginahulat pa. Naluoy gid si Gov. sa ila and gusto niya man nga magbukas na,” Marin said in an interview on IMT Conversations.

The tourism industry has been heavily affected by movement restrictions and quarantine measures imposed by government to contain the the spread of COVID-19.

Marin said he met with Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. and propose a possible opening of some tourism destinations since most of the workers are struggling with no work and income.

But as much as they want to open the tourism destinations, Marin said they are hesitant because of some technical conflicts.

“But sa amon last conversation ni Gov., kung pwede, maibalik ang resorts temporarily lang at a very controlled number of visitors. Kaso basi ma technical kita since may mandato kita from IATF,” he added.

Despite of the closure, Marin said they are doing some initiatives to let the public know that they are still alive in the tourism sector.

“May mga minimal nga mga activities kita like Lakbay Lokal and Tumandok as part of our Tourism Month celebration,” Marin shared.

Currently, under the new Executive Order, all resorts and recreational activities will be closed, including dine-in services. The only allowed are Al Fresco or open dine in but is limited to 15 percent of the total capacity.

Marin said they have to be very strict when wearing face mask and they should follow proper protocol in social distancing and a wash area is required.

When asked about the closure issue of one of the Al Fresco establishments in Oton, Iloilo, Marin said they did not violate anything as per guidelines showed.

“There was an issue about the service. They did not violate anything. We all know nga very strict na sila magbaton. They were all oriented. Ang local government unit of Oton is also going around checking the areas. For me, they did not violate anything,” Marin giving his side on the issue of Padi closure.

The office has also gathered complaints that some of the northern Iloilo resorts have accepted visitors which clearly violates the order.

“Madiscuss man ako sini sa iban na tourism officers. Damo kami nabaton na reports. Sa Norte nga resort may nagabaton daw sang dine in. We are coordinating sa DOT-6 since they’re the one checking sa mga resorts and giving other protocols. We will have a consultative meeting with the Governor. Dugay niya na tani gusto i-open kay naluoy na gid sya sa mga tourism enterprises ta” he shared.

Marin also stressed that they are doing some initiatives to make some projects that will promote the tourism sector.

Some of the activities they are doing are documentation on local delicacies which supports on slow food project; creation of the tour farm package which will assess the competitiveness of our local farms; and cultural mapping.

“Ma invite kami experts to assess the competitiveness of our farms and we will ask them kung ano ang weakness and developments sang amo na nga farms. The DOT-6 is also giving us budget to do video materials as we want our farms to go global. Our cultural mapping, which is expected to start this year, will focus on featuring tangible, immovable heritage sites in the province,” he disclosed.