MINERVA BC NEWMAN
SAN FRANCISCO, Camotes Island—The San Francisco Hospitality Association (SFHA) in Camotes Island is now massively preparing for the expected influx of visitors, tourists and guests as 80 percent of the town’s hotels/resorts, homestays, restaurants and beaches are now opened since September 2021 when health protocols were easing out especially in open destinations such as towns and island travels.
The SFHA organized a three-day #CamotesIslandTour first week of December 2021 for a team of local media, bloggers, photographers and film makers to reintroduce the island’s tourism travel experience and to see the preparations of its hospitality sector to welcome visitors and tourists to San Francisco, Camotes Island.
San Francisco mayor Alfredo Arquillano, Jr. in an interview with a team said that the pandemic brought huge setback to Camotes tourism, almost 80 percent of the hotels/resorts and other accommodations here closed during the pandemic.
“The local government of San Francisco aims for a 100 percent vaccination especially among the frontliners in the hospitality industry here. We are now about 30-50 percent in our vaccination efforts for the whole town,” Arquillano said.
By January 2021 sea transport trips to Camotes gradually returned and this time with the SFHA, the four shipping companies plying the Camotes Island routes were sounded off to improve their services for safe and comfortable trips/systems, Arquillano added.
He added that the shipping companies are now committed to establish regular route/trips to Camotes and they are talking to local transport owners for more buses, jeeps and other sustainable forms of transport to the town’s tourism sites.
According to Julito Pulvera, president of SFHA that the first thing the association did was to gather all the hospitality stakeholders here, owners of resorts, hotels, hostels, homestays, beachfronts and restaurants and transport business owners to discuss how they can prepare, promote and improve the local tourism services and hospitality industry in San Francisco.
“We’ve been mulling to invite you people to promote the resorts, homestays and the Island’s tourism income to help the local hospitality industry to raise issues and concerns and to create a tourism brochure for Camotes Island. Timely for the SFHA to cooperate for this local #CamotesIslandTour,” Pulvera said.
Pulvera bared that the pre-pandemic tourists’ traffic in San Francisco, Camotes was at 70-80 percent active with more than 500 visitors daily and it dwindled to about 100 visitors daily sometime in August until today.
Boboi Costas, a resident of Camotes Island and a staunch advocate for sustainable eco-tourism said that Camotes Island, starting from San Francisco town has what it takes to be a model for a quality destination, safer tourism in the new normal.
“What’s needed is to gather all tourism stakeholders to plan and create one destination for a sustainable island where local communities are trained and equipped with knowledge on resiliency, safety, an island that ca withstand health, financial crisis or dwindling natural resources,” Costas said.
SFHA aims to create a social-economic resilient Camotes with awareness on the quality of tourists, visitors and guests the Island can attract,” Costas added.
Costas went on that the local government and tourism/hospitality stakeholders in Camotes Island also share the same vision, collective vision and it’s just a matter of inspiring and educating them because they all know the benefits of tourism in the island’s economy.
“Tourism policy making must be always based on evidence or science and social dimensions of development. This is what San Francisco and other towns in Camotes want to achieve once tourism is back on its feet for the islanders,” Costas said.