Laguna as a safe, sustainable destination

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    Tayak Nature, Adventure and Wildlife (TANAW) Park in Rizal.

    Laguna is the second highest contributor of the 2020 Same Day Tourism Arrivals for Region 4A, gathering a total number of 1,267,762 same-day tourism arrivals.

    The Department of Tourism (DOT) elevated cultural tourism and ecotourism in the new normal as these will heighten domestic travel in the province of Laguna amidst the pandemic.

    Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Tourism Secretary, reiterated that the DOT will continue to promote Laguna as a safe and sustainable tourist destination.

    This strategy to highlight Laguna’s cultural and ecotourism sites was arrived at as the DOT Region 4A prepares to launch the Green Corridor Initiative (GCI), its flagship domestic program.

    “Laguna is the great outdoors we are looking for near Metro Manila. It’s rich in natural resources and cultural tourism products that most domestic travelers have been wanting to experience again since the community quarantine started almost a year now. I am here to spread the word that it is safe to come here. There’s so much to do,” Puyat acclaimed.

    Puyat on Tuesday visited Laguna again to further evaluate the proposed tourism circuit and activities under the GCI.

    Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery.

    These include the Tayak Nature, Adventure and Wildlife (TANAW) Park in Rizal; espasol making demonstration in the premises of the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery, and the uraro and shoes making demonstration at the White House in Liliw.

    The tourism chief earlier visited the Dona Leonila Park at Sampaloc Lake and Casa San Pablo.

    “TANAW Park is now one of the leading tourist sites in the municipality of Rizal. I am also happy to share that it is an approved ecotourism site under the Regional Ecotourism Committee (REC). Little did we know, there are still a lot of sites and products waiting to be discovered in Laguna such as the museum in Nagcarlan and the tsinelas production site, among others. All these and more provide a sense of belongingness and pride for the host communities and a genuine travel experience to tourists now more than ever,” she said.

    Puyat also added that the tours and activities under the GCI can be flexible, as long as the tourist attractions within the local government units (LGUs) of Rizal, Nagcarlan, Liliw, and San Pablo City are registered under the DOT and with the respective participating LGUs.

    “We will continue finding new ways to bring back tourism to this region. To ensure safety, the tourist attractions that will be a part of the circuit must be registered under the DOT and the concerned LGU. This will help us monitor and guarantee the safety of the travelers, workers, and host communities,” she added.

    Villa Escudero in Quezon.

    Other non-GCI sites visited by the tourism chief were Patis Bed and Breakfast in San Pablo, Villa Escudero in Quezon, and Ted’s Kitchen in Sta. Cruz.

    Puyat earlier expressed her support for the development of the GREEN Corridor Initiative (GCI) during her two-day visit to Laguna to assess the province’s readiness to reopen for tourism.

    “The creation of travel corridors has been a key component in the resumption of tourism in some of the country’s destinations. We are confident that the same principle can be applied in Laguna,” Puyat said.

    “Laguna is blessed to have many open-air, nature and culture-based tourism products that Filipinos would like to experience when traveling amidst the pandemic. And best of all, Laguna can be accessed quickly and conveniently from Metro Manila through land travel, which is the most ideal way for Filipinos to travel in the current situation. There is great potential for the tourism sector in this province to rebound and recover,” she added.

    Puyat disclosed that while the operational guidelines for the GCI are still being ironed out, the identified tourism products will be based on their readiness and quality, guided by the development standards espoused in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2016–2022 and the Tourism Rapid Assessment (TRA).

    Participating LGUs of Laguna have already enacted a resolution of support to and participation in the project, including a joint resolution of the clustered LGUs to endorse the GCI through the Sangguniang Panglungsod.

    The LGUs also need to establish the Green Corridor Task Force (CGTF) to oversee the operations and management of the travel clusters. The GCTF will be composed of the Provincial, Municipal and City Tourism Officers of the clustered destinations, under the guidance of the DOT Region 4A.

    Laguna is the second highest contributor of the 2020 Same Day Tourism Arrivals sharing 11 percent of the total number of the region’s total tourism arrivals, gathering a total number of 1,267,762 same-day tourism arrivals.

    The province is also the second-highest contributor of the 2020 Overnight Tourism Arrivals sharing 22 percent of the total number of the region’s total tourism arrivals, gathering a total number of 207,559 overnight tourism arrivals.