Tourism travel allowed only between MGCQ areas

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - June 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the gradual resumption of tourism operations in some parts of the country, but stressed that travel for tourism purposes can only be done between areas under modified general community quarantine or MGCQ.

“The DOT welcomes the gradual reopening of tourism operations in light of the varied community quarantine levels across the country, hoping to pave the eventual recovery of the Philippines’ tourism industry,” the DOT said in a statement.

It also said that travel for tourism purposes may be allowed only between places under MGCQ, and subject to travel restrictions imposed by the local government units (LGUs).

“It’s important for the tourism sector to open as soon as possible, albeit slowly, gradually and cautiously, so that those who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to work and earn again,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

The DOT said that in boosting domestic tourism, primordial concern will be placed for the safety and health of tourists.

It added that it has issued guidelines, in consultation with stakeholders, to adhere to protocols issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH).

“Tourist destinations that will reopen during the MGCQ are still subject to the approval of the LGU officials and must adhere to the health and safety guidelines issued by the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID),”the DOT said.

Meanwhile, only tourism establishments that are accredited and issued a Certificate of Authority to Operate by the DOT are allowed to open during MGCQ. 

The DOT earlier issued memorandum circular 2020-002, which provides guidelines to institutionalize updated health and safety protocols in the operations of accommodation establishments under a New Normal scenario, which focus on areas such as guest handling, rooms occupancy, housekeeping, food and beverage services, kitchen sanitation and disinfection as well as business practice and management, among others.

“With this, the Department reminds its stakeholders that the observance of said measures will be strictly monitored by the DOT, hence, will affect the issuances of their DOT accreditation, a prerequisite in securing business permits from the LGUs,” the DOT said.

Puyat urged tourism stakeholders to closely coordinate with their respective local government units to ensure a seamless transition, adherence to national and local protocols, and assess the actual readiness of their areas to support resumption of tourism activities.

“The safety and well-being of tourists, industry workers, and communities with a strong connection to the tourism industry remain the priority of the DOT as it continues to call on the support of all its stakeholders to ensure that the industry will get back on its feet, slowly but surely, and sooner than anticipated,”the DOT said.

The DOT earlier announced that accommodation establishments in areas under MGCQ will be allowed to resume normal operations but at only 50 percent operational capacity.

The tourism industry, a key driver of the Philippine economy, is among the hardest hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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