BONTOC, Mountain Province – Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. underscored that the province’s tourism industry remains robust amidst the reported 80 percent cancellation of reservations earlier made by prospective visitors wanting to have joined the provincial government in the celebration of the 15th Lang-ay festival and the 52nd founding anniversary of the province due to the hostilities between the government forces and communist rebels in Bauko and Tadian towns.
Lacwasan said the recent hostilities between the government forces and communist rebels prior to the conduct of the highlights of the province’s major crowd-drawing events were isolated cases but prospective visitors who earlier made reservations with the different lodging facilities decided to call off their supposed visit for security reasons.
“We understand the decision of our prospective visitors to cancel their supposed visit to the province to join us in the merrymaking during the highlights of our Lang-ay festival last week. We consider the situation as a temporary setback to the growth of our local tourism industry because we are on our way to aggressively promote our still untapped sceneries province-wide,” Lacwasan stressed.
The governor asserted the whole province remains peaceful despite the recent hostilities because both the police and military are in control of the province’s peace and order situation.
According to him, concerned government agencies and local governments are doing their best to sustain the aggressive promotion of the new tourist destinations in the province to provide foreign and domestic visitors additional and alternative places to visit while they are in the Mountain Province to have more spread in tourist arrivals in the different tourist spots.
He admitted that ecotourism is the trigger to the growth and development of the province’s remote communities considering the scenic and still untapped tourist spots in their midst.
The governor also agreed to the proposal of some sectors to work on the available sceneries and historical and heritage sites considering the growing number of nature lovers wanting to visit other beautiful places aside from what had been highly publicized as the province’s tourist spots.
Mountain Province has become popular worldwide because of the world famous Sagada Caves but there are also towering and majestic mountains in the different parts of the province serving as the home for uniquely built rice terraces, waterfalls, trekking areas, among other desired ecotourist activities.
Lacwasan explained what is good about ecotourism is that there is no need to introduce development interventions that have big negative impact on the environment and the people themselves value the importance of a good environment for their own well-being and livelihood.
The provincial tourism industry is currently documenting existing tourist spots to boost the promotion of the province as the ecotourism destination north of Manila.
Banner art by Don Ray RRamos