Boracay to open doors to GCQ tourists on October 1 after months of closure
This 2018 photo shows tourists roaming around Boracay island.
The STAR/Miguel De Guzman, file
Boracay to open doors to GCQ tourists on October 1 after months of closure
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - September 23, 2020 - 12:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Wednesday announced that the country’s top tourist destination, Boracay island, will further open its doors to more local tourists starting October 1, after almost seven months of closure.

Tourists from destinations under a general community quarantine and modified GCQ classifications including the National Capital Region will then be allowed to visit the island, but foreign tourists will remain prohibited.

This development came as a result of a special meeting convened by the principals of the Boracay Interagency Task Force (BIATF) led by its chair Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Co-Vice Chairs including Interior and Local Government Secretary Ed Año and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, with the Province of Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores on Tuesday, September 22.

Guidelines for Boracay tourists

For the upcoming reopening of the island, Puyat said several measures have been prescribed by the Task Force to target a safe and calibrated resumption of tourism business and operations. This includes undergoing of test before travel, requiring a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-CPR) result 48 to 72 hours prior to traveling to Boracay.

“Also, travelers will be advised to go on a strict quarantine immediately after a test and until the time of travel to the island,” Puyat said.

In July, the IATF lifted the age restriction to tourists which allows travelers age 21 and below and above 60 with no comorbidity to visit the island.

Puyat told PhilStar.com that there is no travel limit for tourists from GCQ areas but they are required to test negative for the coronavirus disease.

The DOT said that airlines are advised to only use one airport for entry, which is the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan in the municipality of Malay.

The tourism agency assured that minimum health and safety guidelines (HSG) already in place, and in accordance with Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and national government mandates, will be subjected to continued enhancement.

On June 16, Boracay only opened to tourists from Western Visayas.

During which, the province of Aklan rolled out stringent protocols in receiving guests as well as strict guidelines in handling COVID-19 related emergencies.

The DOT said that a COVID-19 Laboratory is now operational at the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo, Aklan, which forms a part of the network of facilities and services needed in a safe environment for host communities, business stakeholders, and tourists.

“In fact, the DOT had earlier coordinated with the FILINVEST Corporate City Foundation, Inc, for its donation of an RT-PCR machine to the Province of Aklan. Similarly, we worked with the Tulong Kapatid, the social responsibility consortium of the MVP Group of Companies, for several projects to include the donation of medical equipment and extension of training that will level up the Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital in Boracay from an infirmary to a level 1 trauma hospital,” Puyat said.

The DOT has also issued Certificates of Authority to Operate to a total of 199 hotels and resorts representing 4,416 rooms since June.

Aside from the minimum health protocols, visitors of Boracay are expected to follow the “Health and Safety Guidelines Governing the Operation of Island and Beach Destinations under the New Normal” or memorandum Circular No. 2020-007 signed by Puyat early this month.

Under this guidelines, lifeguards will be accompanied by beach marshalls or officers tasked to ensure that protocols such as physical distancing are followed in island tourist destinations during prescribed swimming hours.

The tourism chief welcomes the reopening of Boracay to new market and said that it builds momentum for domestic tourism nationwide.

“We are pleased that the BIATF and the LGUs of the Province of Aklan and Municipality of Malay have agreed to put health and safety as the priority as we carefully and safely welcome more guests to the island,” Puyat said.

The “Philippine Travel Survey: Insights on Filipino Travel Behavior Post-COVID 19” released in June showed that at least 77% of the respondents are willing to travel within the country once restrictions are lifted. They expressed willingness to travel domestically even in the absence of a proven vaccine against COVID-19.

BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT BORACAY BORACAY CLOSURE COVID-19 DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM NEW NORMAL NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PHILIPPINE TOURISM
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 26, 2020 - 4:15pm

Other regions and provinces in the Philippines considered moderate and low-risk areas will be placed under general community quarantine starting May 1. Bookmark this page for updates. (Main image by The STAR/Edd Gumban)

October 26, 2020 - 4:15pm

The Department of Health reports 1,607 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the overall number of infections in the country to more than 371,000.

To date, 371,630 people in the Philippines have had COVID-19. Active cases rose to 36,333, comprising 9.8% of the total cases in the country. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

October 25, 2020 - 4:09pm

The Department of Health on Sunday reports 2,223 additional cases of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, bringing the national caseload to 370,028.

The DOH also confirms 14,944 new recoveries and 43 newly-reported deaths, pushing the total of reported recoveries to 328,036 and the death toll to 6,977.

With these figures, the total of active cases (net of deaths and recoveries) in the country is now at 35,015.

October 22, 2020 - 6:44pm

About 60% of adult Filipinos deem the efforts of public transportation owners' actions in preventing the spread of COVID-19 among their employees adequate.

The national mobile survey conducted from September 17 to 20 also found that 27% of the respondents consider them inadequate while 13% are undecided.

The poll was conducted using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing among 1,249 adult Filipinos nationwide. Error margin is at ±3% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, ±5% for Balance Luzon, ±6% for the Visayas, and ±6% for Mindanao.

October 22, 2020 - 4:07pm

The Department of Health reports 1,644 additional coronavirus cases in the country, pushing the national caseload to 363,888.

The DOH also records 632 new recoveries, bringing the total of recovered cases to 312,222. The Philippines' death toll now stands at 6,783 with 38 new deaths.

Total active cases (net of COVID-19 deaths and recoveries) in the country is now at 44,772.

October 21, 2020 - 4:06pm

The Department of Health reports 1,509 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, raising the national tally to 362,243.

The DOH also records 911 additional recoveries, pushing the total of recovered patients to 311,506. The national death toll now stands at 6,747 with 60 new deaths reported.

With these figures, the total of active cases (net of deaths and recoveries) in the country is now at 43,990.

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