Several accommodation establishments in Ilocos Norte opened their doors again to continue their operations, after a long hiatus due to the effects of the pandemic.
Over 90 hotels, resorts, and transient houses have been issued with Special Permit to Operate (SPO) by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) through the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO), as of writing.
According to Ianree Raguel, Provincial Tourism Officer of Ilocos Norte, the releasing for special permit to operate is still on going for the accommodation establishments. The province is issuing a special permit, specially for the new requirements that establishments need to comply with.
Raguel explained that establishments need to apply for Certificate to Operate (CAO) being issued by Department of Tourism (DOT) and an SPO being issued by PNIG. The purpose of the re-opening of establishments should be identified before they are allowed to operate: as a quarantine facility for returning residents, accommodation place for Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), or leisure.
Tourism is one of the greatly affected sectors and accommodation establishments, specifically, have lost a significant part of their income especially during summer, which was supposed to be the biggest peak season of the province.
“This time is difficult for accommodation establishments. Right now, we are mitigating the impacts of the pandemic as we are already towards our transition to the ‘new normal.’ We have talked to Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc for the possibility of providing more programs for them along with travel agencies, tour operators, and other members of the tourism sector. We’re finding a way to make sure that they can reopen and more importantly, dapat ma-lessen yung nawawalan ng trabaho (job losses should be lessen),” Raquel emphasized.
“Our tourism sector is very resilient and we hope that everybody will prioritize safety no matter how difficult it is. We continue to moving forward because this is our best guarantee as we will be the ideal choice for travelers in the ‘new normal.’ Hopefully, we will recover. We are doing our best to find the best benchmark for the province. The Provincial Government continues to encourage accommodation establishments to register, as this will guarantee them continuous business operation under the “new normal,” he reiterated.