The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), which includes the DOT, has been discussing how the tourism industry would implement health and safety measures like physical distancing, said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Miguel de Guzman, file
DOT: Avoid over-tourism to prevent second wave of COVID
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is making sure that the country’s tourist spots will not be crowded to prevent people from being infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), which includes the DOT, has been discussing how the tourism industry would implement health and safety measures like physical distancing, said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

“We are discussing how we would solve over-tourism… we want to avoid the second wave,” Puyat told radio dzBB yesterday, referring to the event when more COVID infections would be recorded once lockdown measures were lifted or relaxed.

For instance, the agency has been talking to Benjamin Magalong, mayor of top tourist destination Baguio City, about health and safety protocols.

The DOT would probably allow domestic tourism, wherein only local travelers are allowed to tour popular destinations, she noted.

The agency sees allowing land travel but only for so-called essential activities once the country shifts to general community quarantine, she said.

Inter-island travel might also be permitted, but only for areas under general community quarantine.

It has also been tackling health and safety measures in both the lodging and airline industries, she added.

“We have been talking with (the Department of Health) about instances on how social distancing would be observed when, for example, we go to the beach.”

In opening up Philippine tourism only to Filipinos, Puyat asserted that the DOT would want the process to be “slow but sure.”

BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT DOT
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