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Cagayan Valley and Northern Philippine Islands

CVRTC Curves Tourism Niche for Bountiful Cagayan Valley

CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela – Tourism stakeholders in the Cagayan Valley Region must have put to heart their dream to make the region a vibrant tourism destination albeit natural and man-made adversities.

The region’s tourism industry, orchestrated by the men and women of the Cagayan Valley Regional Tourism Council, in its desire to be a major contributor to the attainment of a bountiful Cagayan Valley, registered a growing industry particularly during the Duterte Administration.

Tourism and tourism-related industries such as hotels and other accommodation facilities, restaurants, sports tourism facilities, well-maintained local cultural properties, museums, pasalubong centers, natural and man-made tourism attractions, transport facilities and others now abound in almost all towns, cities and provinces of the region.

Ramon Jerry Cabalce, chairperson of the SEC-registered CVRTC, in his report during the Regional Tourism Forum and Awards Night, said the region’s tourism business establishments continue to grow in terms of number of establishments while unique and state-of-the-art-attractions emerge to cope with the developments in the tourism industry in the other parts of the country and worldwide.

“We ensure that better tourism services are accorded our tourists, whether local or foreign, so that repeats of visits to the region are assured, thanks to the Department of Tourism and other well-minded government agencies that provide us with manpower trainings, seminars and conferences” he said.

A year before the health pandemic, the region registered an all-time high total tourist arrival of 1,237,170 with local tourists totaling 1,079,050 and foreign tourists at 158,120.

Guided by the Council’s mandate to include adopting and promoting the purposes of RA No. 9593, otherwise known as the Tourism Act of 2009, coordinating the projects and activities of local council members to achieve optimum results, promoting the extension of affiliate membership to other tourism-oriented organizations, companies and individuals, promoting the concept of inter-regional interdependence and collaboration in so far as tourism promotion and development is concerned, the Council chair said local councils up to the regional levels are able to orchestrate tourism programs, projects and activities to boost local tourism.

In 2016, the CVRTC successfully secured representation in the Cagayan Valley Regional Development Council, with Dr. Cecilia La Madrid Dy appointed as co-chairperson for the years 2016-2019, Cabalce said.

To complement efforts of the local tourism councils in the region, the CVRTC conducted planning workshops, constructed the first-ever CVRTC marker at the DOT Regional Office’s compound, produced and distributed the Council’s advocacy sticker, staged its innovative Lakbay Rehiyon Dos Promo raffle as means to promote local tourism attractions, supported local festivals, partnered in the implementation of DOT-initiated projects, conducted face-to-face and virtual meetings resulting in the crafting and eventual adoption of resolutions to advance the local tourism industry.

General Tourism Assemblies were conducted through the years, not until the worldwide health pandemic hit the country and the region, as well, in the later part of 2019.

“All of these and more contributed to the increasing number of tourist arrivals, with a number of whom coming for the second or third time in the region,” Cabalce said even as he cited the improving culture of tourism among local residents.

The trend reversed, however, when at the onset of the health pandemic in the region in the early part of 2020, tourist arrivals started to slide down. The region only had a total of 149,045 tourist arrivals with local tourists accounting for 140,784 and only 8,261 foreign tourists who came to experience the region’s unique attractions and culture, nevertheless.

“We are heading towards better years for the tourism industry now, given the improved systems of addressing the pandemic which, accordingly, has been reclassified as merely epidemic. The various tourism stakeholders have also started to geared up to improve not only everyone’s tourism attractions but also their services,” Cabalce said.

More tourism stakeholders pin their hopes not only on their own merits but more so on the government and funding agencies, he said. #PR/RTFAN/#5

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