The City Tourism Office (CTO) here recorded 93,344 tourist arrivals in the Hundred Islands National Park (HINP) last year, 82-percent lower than the 522,907 tourist arrivals in 2019.
In an interview on Thursday, city tourism officer Miguel Sison said they are hoping for higher tourist arrivals this year with the renovations of guest houses and improvement at the HINP underway.
“Aside from renovations of guest houses, we are also constructing retreat houses in the nearby island of the Pilgrimage Island. So when the situation amid the pandemic permits, we will be opening it in time for the Holy Week,” he said.
Sison said the improvements and added attractions such as the three-dimensional paintings at the Lucap Wharf drew local tourists in the city.
“People go at the Lucap Wharf to just relax and chill,” he said.
Apart from the pandemic, Sison said the number of tourists at the HINP was also affected by the gale warnings.
“We are meeting with the Philippine Coast Guard to issue (a) special zone permit so that even though there is a gale warning up in the province, we may still allow large boats to ferry tourists in the safe areas in the islands,” he added.
Amid the decreased number of tourist arrivals, Sison admitted the income of tourism was also affected, especially the livelihood of vendors and boatmen among other stakeholders at the HINP.
“We prioritized them with the amelioration from the national government and assisted them in availing the TUPAD (Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers) benefits under the Department of Labor and Employment in coordination with the Department of Tourism,” he said. (PNA)