Mambajao to enhance tourist experience with accreditation, e-Map initiatives

MAMBAJAO, Camiguin (PIA) — The tourism office here announced a new ordinance to accredit tourism establishments and accommodations, aligning local businesses with Department of Tourism (DOT) standards, as well as the launch of an e-map for Mambajao, which serves as a comprehensive guide for tourists and emergency assistance.

“Atong gi-project nga aduna kita’y 40 percent nga increase of tourists compared to last year nga nisulod sa atong tourist spots. Karon lang, sa atong first quarter 2024, aduna na kita’y natala nga 43,000 nga visitors,” said John Mark Aguiman, the designate tourism officer of Mambajao, during an interview on the radio program “Come Again sa Camiguin.”

(We project that we have a 40 percent increase in tourists compared to last year who entered our tourist spots. Just now, in our first quarter of 2024, we have recorded 43,000 visitors.)

Ensuring that these tourists will enjoy their stay in town, one of the key initiatives of the local government is the newly established ordinance by Sangguniang Bayan through Councilor Zita Abellare to accredit tourism establishments and accommodations. Aguiman highlighted the necessity of this move, emphasizing that accreditation aligns local businesses with regional and national standards set by the DOT.

“Sauna pa aduna na kita’y local tourism code apan didto wala gyud nataltal og ayo kung dapat ba i-accredit or dili, depende sa tag-iya. Apan karon nakita nato nga na’y need nga ipa-accredit na sila,” Aguiman added.

(Previously, we had the local tourism code, but the accreditation of tourism establishments was optional and dependent on the owner’s discretion. Now, we recognize the need for mandatory accreditation to ensure quality service.)

He clarified that DOT websites would feature accredited establishments, thereby enhancing their visibility and credibility, saying this step guarantees better service for our tourists and provides businesses with an opportunity to advertise on a broader platform.

To further boost the tourism sector, Aguiman also unveiled an innovative project initiated by Mayor Yñigo Jesus Romualdo—the creation of an e-map for Mambajao. This e-map serves dual purposes: it acts as a comprehensive guide for tourists and a critical tool during emergencies.

He said visitors can simply click on the e-map to find information on restaurants, hotels, and tourist spots in any barangay. Additionally, during emergencies, the e-map serves as a municipal disaster risk reduction and management map, offering quick access to hospital locations, clinic details, and contact numbers for ambulances and responders.

“Mao na ang gi-envision ni Mayor Yggy nga aside nga nag-smart tourism ta, naa pud atong e-tourism (That’s what Mayor Yggy envisioned; aside from doing smart tourism, we also have e-tourism),” Aguiman said.

Hearing such an initiative from the local government, Gabriel Andres, a local traveler, said, “This is a very nice plan because I think it can help tourists and visitors strategically plan their trip to the island. For tourists who want to go on a ‘back-pack’ style trip, the app is going to be helpful in navigating their way on the island, providing insights and helping them make informed decisions on where to stay, dine, and what experiences to try.”

Lawyer Abdul Pangader, a traveler, believes the e-map is a great idea that will help tourists plan their trip and navigate within the town. He added that it is helpful to know that the numbers of agencies that one will call in case of an emergency are accessible.

“It would be best if they could include other towns, not just Mambajao. To best make use of this, they should also use data intelligence to allow them to analyze tourist behavior, identify trends, and make strategic decisions based on concrete data. But for this to work as well, they need to improve cellular coverage since there are areas where the signal is very poor,” he added. 

Discussing tourism statistics, Aguiman reported that in 2022, Mambajao recorded around 31,500 visitors from various establishments. By 2023, this number had increased by 10,000, bringing the total to approximately 49,000 guests. This marks a substantial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which had drastically reduced tourist numbers to around 5,000.

White Island saw 57,787 visitors in 2023; Ardent attracted 104,000; and Mt. Hibok-Hibok had 568 climbers, totaling 162,000 visitors to the town’s tourist spots.

Aguiman said these developments indicate a robust and growing tourism industry in Mambajao, promising a bright future for the local economy and community. (RTP/PIA-10/Camiguin)

Mambajao to enhance tourist experience with accreditation, e-Map initiatives
To reach White Island Camiguin, visitors should look for the Paras Beach Resort signage along the Camiguin Circumferential Road in Barangay Yumbing, Mambajao. The outrigger boat terminal is located just a few meters from the highway. Travelers need to register and pay at the authorized clerk before boarding their assigned motorized outrigger boat or banca for an unforgettable trip to White Island. (Photo courtesy of DOT-10)
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