According to Puyat, 108 tourism establishments in Rizal have complied with the DOT standards. Out of those tourism establishments that were given provisional certificate of authority to operate, 30 are from Antipolo City.
After being closed for several months last year, tourism in Rizal, the “Cradle of Philippine Art,” is slowly but surely picking up, bringing back jobs and much-needed revenue to the province.
Being in close proximity to Metro Manila, Rizal has long been a favored destination for land travel.
In the past year, the province recorded 7,200,454 same-day and 395,364 overnight tourism arrivals, helping it emerge as the top contributor for overnight tourism arrivals in the region and accounting for 36 percent of the region’s total tourism arrivals, said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
The province is also the top contributor for same day tourism arrivals in 2020, generating 60 percent of the region’s total tourism arrivals, Puyat added.
While vaccinations against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have begun, it will take some time for the country to be virus-free. Puyat believes there are additional methods to hasten the recovery of tourism in Rizal, and one of them is the G.R.E.E.N. Corridor Initiative (GCI).
A flagship project of DOT Calabarzon, GCI is a domestic tourism program for tourism recovery in the new normal designed to encourage more travelers to visit the multi-faceted province of Rizal, a place that abounds with nature, adventure, arts and culture and, of course, food.
Through GCI, Puyat said the City of Antipolo and the municipalities of Angono, Taytay and Cainta – the faith, food, art, adventure and nature experience tourism cluster of Rizal – are interlinked in the safety of a travel bubble, furthering DOT’s commitment to promote the province as a fun, sustainable and safe destination.
“The GCI is a domestic tourism program for tourism recovery in the new normal, designed to encourage more travelers to visit the multi-faceted province of Rizal, a place that abounds with nature, adventure, arts and culture, and, of course, food,” Puyat added.
Among the activities and sites experienced by the tourism chief include pottery demonstration at the Crescent Moon Cafe and Studio Pottery in Antipolo; tour in the ancestral home of National Artist for Visual Arts Carlos “Botong” Francisco in Angono; a portrait session with the local artists of Nemiranda Art Gallery in Angono; the Balaw–Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery in Angono; St. Clement Parish Church in Angono, and Blanco Family Museum in Angono. Like the other circuits under GCI, the FFAAN Experience in Rizal can be tailor-made to fit one’s preference, as long as the activities and attractions are in Antipolo, where pilgrimage sites can be found; in Angono or the “Art Capital of the Philippines; in Taytay or the “Woodworks and Garments Capital,” and in Cainta, where native rice cakes such as bibingka and kalamay are top favorites.
To secure the long-term future of its tourism, infrastructure in Rizal is also being upgraded.
Through the DOT-Department of Public Works and Highways Convergence Program, there are 13 tourism road infrastructure projects either completed or ongoing, Puyat noted.
While the DOT’s recovery efforts take shape, Puyat said they are continuing to provide support and assistance to the sectors most affected by the crisis.
Through the DOT- Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Cash Assistance Program for Displaced Tourism Workers, Puyat said DOT Calabarzon has endorsed 1,214 tourism enterprises, tour guide associations and community-based tourism associations with 68,531 target beneficiaries regionwide to avail of the assistance as of March 8, 2021.
Specific to Rizal, 110 tourism enterprises and associations have been endorsed by the DOT regional office.
Some tourism enterprises elected to course their application for assistance directly through DOLE which brings the total number of approved tourism enterprises and associations to 1,741 with 33,656 individual beneficiaries.
Of the approved tourism enterprises and associations, 280 are from Rizal, Puyat said.
As of March 8, the total approved cash assistance amounted to P168.28 million, which Puyat hopes tourism stakeholders and workers use to help them get through this difficult time.