ALL tourism establishments in Negros Occidental are on “red alert” status amid the observance of the Holy Week, an official of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas said.

DOT-Western Visayas Regional Administrative Officer Artemio Ticar, designated tourism area development head for Negros Occidental, said all tourism officers in the province since Sunday, should have put in place their tightened safety measures for the entire week.

Ticar said all local government units (LGUs) should have alerted their Bantay Dagat, rescue units, and police forces to ensure the safety of the people in different tourism destinations.

“We are expecting an influx of local and foreign tourists this week thus, we have to be ready in accommodating them especially in terms of ensuring their safety and security,” he said.

Mountain and beach resorts are required to have lifeguards and guides who will monitor activities of the guests like swimming and hiking.

DOT-Western Visayas has already conducted the training for about 30 mountain guides in Talisay City last week.

It also urged LGUs to establish Tourism Information Center in all tourism destinations in their own locality specifically during Holy Week.

Aside from catering to queries, the center should also have standby medics and rescuers who can immediately attend to visitors’ medical needs especially during emergency cases.

“We do not want to celebrate Holy Week with lives lost,” Ticar said.

Moreover, Holy Week is considered as one of the best times to further promote the local tourism offerings.

The tourism official said that due to the significant increase in the number of domestic and foreign tourists during this period, tourism establishments should deliver quality services to clients.

“This is an ideal opportunity for them to earn more as well as spread awareness to other potential tourists that the province is indeed a land of sweet surprises,” Ticar added.

Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on April 11, 2017.

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