By Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA-Bohol | 10:42 AM August 03, 2020
With the opportunity to reboot a wayward tourism industry that picks just anything along the way, Bohol officials now have their eyes fixed on the Bohol branding that has remained a concept in the past.
Enter the Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) seal which the local government grants to tourism destinations that get accredited for local promotions support after passing the stringent policies that would assure tourists an elevated kind of Bohol experience they will never forget.
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap shared this in front of Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who came to Bohol tagging along the DOT bigwigs and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año along with his phalanx of regional police and military officials, as well as Bohol local chief executives and solons including the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, tourism and peace council members and the media.
The UBE seal will be given to all Bohol tourism destinations which will be accredited based on the accreditation measures by the DOT and by local regulations which would be provided in an ordinance, the governor explained.
Short of detailing the provincial measure, the governor said the regulation would make sure the tourism industry workers and establishments in the new normal are all anti-COVID compliant including a system in place for contact tracing and operations that follow the tenets of sustainable tourism.
Gov Yap said some of the salient points of the ordinance fixing the UBE seal would be the establishment’s compliance to all health and safety protocols, compliance with the establishment’s carrying capacity, a set online system in place for booking and payments to assure lesser contact and compliance with the environmental standards and requirements for a sustainable tourism.
By compliance to environmental standards, the new normal Bohol tourist destination would be accredited according to presence of ample parking areas, sewage treatment processes, observance of carrying capacity, waste water management, payments systems, the establishments carbon footprint and its use of eco-friendly technologies.
The above standards have been in place on only a very few resorts and hotels in Bohol despite claiming to be a province rooting for eco-tourism and sustainable environment business practices.
By this, while the corona virus pandemic has closed tourism business establishments, the gradual reopening is now only possible after the DOT signs its approval following strict adherence to accreditation procedures.
The situation also incidentally allows a unique opportunity for Bohol to implement these measures to put in place sustainable tourism practices for the establishment to be granted the UBE seal.
And while many tourism establishments may see this as local accreditation procedure as an additional burden, the governor who hinted that the UBE seal is a proposal conceptualized by the business sector members of the Bohol Association of Hotels Resorts and Restaurants along with the Provincial Tourism Council, reasoned out that the unique condition Bohol is in now, allows local stakeholders to assure a tourism that is extra-sustainable.
The UBE seal, or the UBE Seal of excellence 001 has to be carried for a tourism establishment to be part of the tourism prioritized services when Bohol opens its doors again, the governor announced.
The governor also told the DOT that while the country may not be able to open up yet, Bohol targets the last quarter of 2020, but adds that this is a moving target, ambitious maybe but at least a working target makes people look up to a timeline.
The DOT and the DILG secretaries came to Bohol to share the government tourism agency’s travel bubble concept, which might allow tourists from regions with zero to low COVID case as well as areas with a well-managed disease control.
Tourism bubble lets me think of Bohol because of its good leadership and as the president has ordered the gradual opening of the country’s economy.
As the country continues to struggle with the pandemic, national officials have said that infections re contained in several areas.
“We are looking at it on a per island [opening] and the country has about 12 international airports. All they need to do is fly in directly to the destinations, but we have to be assured they all come in negative” she partly shared the tourism bubble concept they are selling to Bohol.
As Bohol shares its battle plan in moving forward, and while the national government intends to reopen the Philippines, not as a whole but on a per island basis, DILG secretary agrees with the governor to open Bohol “only when the Bol-anons are ready.” (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)