WITH the reopening of tourism in the province, the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 has been going around the countryside to re-evaluate the farm sites and other nature destinations.
According to DOT 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano, Cebuanos are slowly getting out of their homes and cautiously enjoying the great outdoors.
“This is timely because Cebuanos and other travelers are buying bikes and other outdoor gear,” he told SunStar Cebu.
DOT 7 is currently documenting farms and other nature destinations on the back of the changed market preference.
He noted that the market now has zeroed in on health and wellness, linked with nature and exercise, because of the pandemic.
“We call this (documentation) product development—to make the destinations ready for promotion,” Tamano said.
He stressed that part of the documentation process is the implementation of health and safety protocols.
Tamano added that the reopening of the countryside destinations builds momentum in the revival of domestic tourism.
Last year, the DOT 7 started accrediting farm sites. As of July 2019, the DOT already accredited six farms in the region—two in Cebu, two in Negros Oriental and one each in Bohol and in Siquijor. These were the Lamac Integrated Organic Farm School in Pinamungajan, Cebu; Arapal Nature Retreat in Bogo City, Cebu; Vita Isola Leisure Farm in Loon, Bohol; Ocean View Farm and Cottages in Maria, Siquijor; and Mahogany Upland Resort and Baslay Coffee Farm both in Dauin, Negros Oriental.
For a farm to be initially accredited pre-pandemic, it needs to have the basic requirements like a reception area to receive and orient the guests, a farm guide, safety signage around the site to guide tourists, and fire extinguishers, in case of unforeseen emergencies.
But with the stricter safety protocols to avoid Covid-19 transmission, the DOT has put a premium on health and safety guidelines, like wearing of masks, observing social distancing, checking of body temperature, implementing contact tracing and washing of hands, among other basic measures. (JOB)