Low influx of tourists may force some Samal resorts to shut down

Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS)-bound vehicles wait for their turn to board on a ferry at Sasa Ferry Wharf in Brgy. Sasa, Davao City on Friday. Some resorts in the island are considering to temporarily halting operations because of losses due to lack of guests. Edge Davao

Some resorts in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) are in danger of shutting down after the low turnout of tourists since the re-opening of tourism sites in the island.

Despite gradually opening its tourism sites last month allowing resorts to a maximum of 50 percent capacity, the number of tourists to the island trickled low for fear of getting exposed to the virus. According to a resort organization official, some resorts might be forced to stop operation temporarily if the trend continues. 

“If after one month of operation is not viable, some resorts might stop operation. Everyone is on a wait and see mode to determine if their operations are viable. There are very few guests who come to the resorts due to fear from Covid-19,” said Engineer Pastor Lozada Jr., president of the Samal Resort Owners Association, in a text message. 

Lozada also mentioned the requirements set by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the local government of IGaCoS for guests to enter the island a bit hassle. 

The island has imposed a “No booking, no entry” policy following the issuance of a QR code for tourists entering Samal. The local government of IGaCoS imposed a QR code system to every visitor of the island to monitor movement as well as to make contact tracing more efficient should they test positive for Covid-19.

The resort owners are also required to comply with the requirements set by the regional office of the Department of Tourism (DOT 11) to ensure the safety of the tourists such as the setting up of health protocols.

Mayor Al David Uy of IGaCoS said that Samal only caters to tourists from Davao Region as long as they go through the process.

Lozada also said resort owners don’t receive yet any assistance from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the LGU. 

In an interview in May this year, Lozada said resort owners are seeking help from the local government, primarily for workers who have been displaced due to the halt in tourism activities. 

Currently, the island has a total of 200 resorts.