Zambales will finally reopen to domestic and international tourists after getting the approval of the Department of Tourism (DOT), paving the way for the revival of its P1.4-billion tourism industry that has suffered due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. received full support for this move from DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who assured the certification of Zambales for reopening in an online planning and consultation forum on Friday.
Romulo-Puyat said she approved the reopening of Zambales tourism attractions because of the province’s readiness and proven capacity to maintain health safety protocols within its borders.
“Zambales is one of the most prepared and best-managed areas in terms of curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease. I think it’s now ready to open its doors to tourists,” she said.
Ebdane said Zambales’ tourism industry is the second-highest revenue earner for the province next to agriculture, with an estimated P1.4-billion income per annum.
The industry is anchored on popular attractions like beach resorts in 11 of the 13 municipalities situated along the coast, as well as inland tourist magnets like lakes, rivers, waterfalls, caves and mountains.
Ebdane said tourist arrivals in the province alone reached over 700,000 last year.
On top of this, residents patronize local resorts to enjoy what neighboring areas have to offer, he said. SOVEREIGNPH