CLOSE. Several top tourist destinations of the region like the extreme torpedo ride in Paranas, Samar, are temporarily closed as a measure on the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019( COVID-19)
(Photo Courtesy Spark Samar)

TACLOBAN CITY- With the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues, top tourist attractions in the region were temporarily closed as a measure against possible spread of the virus.
And these moves of the local government units and the people’s organizations managing these tourist attractions should be respected and followed, Karina Rosa Tiopes, regional director of the Department of Tourism, said.
“(This is) to ensure that the number of persons infected by the virus will not rise high, it requires a “whole of country approach”, where every Filipino should voluntarily impose upon himself / herself the patriotic duty to support the campaign against COVID-19 and cooperate by following the measures put in place by the proper authorities,” she said.
Tiopes said that they understand the decision to close the destinations “knowing that the main reasons behind these closures are to support the national government’s decisive move to put to a stop human to human and community transmissions of this life threatening virus and to protect the health of the populace.”
“The plunge in visitor arrivals and income from tourism in now a reality that we in the tourism industry should accept, try to mitigate and find ways to overcome. These latest developments are actually hurting our tourism businesses and our tourism social enterprises (people’s organizations) in Eastern Visayas,” the tourism regional added.
For An Waray Rep. Florencio ‘Bem’ Noel said that the impact of the COVID-19 on the tourism industry is a major blow not just to the local economy but also to small business enterprises that rely their income on it.
“Although we are not dependent on our tourism industry alone but for our local tourism industry this is a big blow, a major concern, especially that most of our arrivals are domestic tourist,” Noel said.
The best thing to do now, he said, is to follow all the advisories of the Department of Health (DOH) and the national government to prevent further spread of the virus.
Among the tourist destinations that are currently closed to tourists are the Sohoton Cave and Natural Bridge, the Balantak Falls and Saob Cave, all in Basey town; Langun-Gobingob Cave and Lulugayan Falls, both in Calbiga town.
Also closed were the Lobo Cave in Jiabong town; Extreme Torpedo Boat Ride and the Paranas Eco-Trail in Paranas and the San Juan by the Bay.
The city government of Calbayog has also temporary suspended the operation of its zipline and Malajog Nature Park until further notice.
In Leyte province, tourist destinations that were closed were the Kalanggaman Island in Palompon; Canigao Island in Matalom; and Apid, Digjo and Mahaba, the three islets in Inopacan town that are part of the Cuatro Islas are also close for tourist activities.
In Southern Leyte, Cambaro Cave and at the Macrohon Bird and Marine Sanctuary were also off limits to the tourists.
In Eastern Samar, the Canhugas Nature Park and the Guinduyanan Cove, both in Hernani town; Divinubo Eco-Tour Park and Ando Eco-Destination in Borongan City are also temporarily closed effective March 14, 2020.
Among the tourist destinations in Biliran province that were closed is the Higatangan Island in Naval. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)