Kayangan Lake in Coron municipality. (Photo courtesy of Coron information office)

Twenty-two tourism stakeholders and five local governments in MIMAROPA were recently honored by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for maintaining high-quality standards by promoting and advocating tourism even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press statement released by the Provincial Tourism Promotions and Development Office (PTPDO), it said the DOT MIMAROPA held the virtual Appreciation and Recognition Day ceremony on February 28 with the theme “Fame: Soar High and Radiate during a Pandemic”.

Banwa Private Island in Roxas municipality was named 2020 Private Island of the Year, Destination Deluxe Award, while Astoria Palawan was awarded as ASEAN MICE Venue for Meeting Room Category.

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DOT Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat during the virtual annual recognition day on February 28, 2022. (Screenshot courtesy of Provincial Tourism Promotions and Development Office (PTPDO) )

The top 5 destinations having the highest number of DOT-accredited tourism enterprises are Puerto Princesa City (1st), El Nido (2nd), Coron (3rd), Puerto Galera (4th), Calapan City (5th).

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travel Stamp Certificate recipients were Sunlight Eco Tourism Island Resort, Club Paradise (Coron), TAG Resort, The Funny Lion, Two Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Coron Hilltop View Resort, Pangulasian Island Resort, Lagen Island Resort, Miniloc Island Resort, Apulit Island Resort, Huni Lio, Casa Kalaw, Balai Adlao, Hotel COVO, Seda Lio, Charlie’s El Nido, Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort, Puerto Pension, White Breeze Palawan Boutique, Astoria Palawan, Hue Hotels and Resorts Puerto Princesa, and Fridays Puerto Galera.

The event was graced by DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who expressed her gratitude for local government units, private stakeholders, and their efforts in promoting and championing tourism even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the PTPDO stated.

“The DOT MIMAROPA also salutes the individuals who are working in the tourism industry who have exemplified our Filipino brand of service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This shows that the region’s frontliners can be inspiring models of how to bounce back in times of crisis and show great dedication to their work in tourism,” Puyat was quoted in saying.

Puyat also urged local tourism stakeholders to keep their accreditation with the agency up to date, especially now that it can be done online. She advised local tourism officers in the MIMAROPA Region to keep inviting tourism stakeholders in their communities who have not yet been accredited.

Atty. Bevienne G. Malateo, DOT MIMAROPA regional director, meanwhile, expressed gratitude to tourism stakeholders for being invaluable partners in implementing the department’s projects, programs, and activities – maintaining the quality standards in the MIMAROPA Region’s tourism enterprises.

As of February 28, 2022, the MIMAROPA Region has a total of 708 DOT-accredited tourism enterprises which travelers can access by scanning the QR (quick response) code. The list includes the e-mail addresses of tourism businesses as well as other pertinent details.

The ceremony ended with a remark from DOT MIMAROPA’s Tourism Regulation chief Cecil V. Aranton, who reflected on the time the coronavirus broke out, how it affected the tourism business, and how people coped and even thrived despite the pandemic.

“We must never lose sight of the importance of customer experience. We have to make safe and hygienic travel a fundamental part of the travel equation to attract visitors to our region. Just like our destinations in MIMAROPA – everything in MIMAROPA is beautiful, we just have to enhance it because what visitors see is what we are.” she said.

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