Eased travel movement to empower LGUs to reopen tourist spots â Puyat
This March 13, 2020 shows tourists leaving Boracay island.
Philstar.com/Rosette Adel
Eased travel movement to empower LGUs to reopen tourist spots — Puyat
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - October 16, 2020 - 6:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Friday welcomed the loosening of travel movement between general community quarantine and modified GCQ areas for tourism revival.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases amended the guidelines on travel restrictions and approved the recommendation to gradually expand the age group allowing individuals aged 15 to 65 to go out of their residence.

Under IATF Resolution No. 79, “the interzonal movement of non-authorized persons outside residences (non-APOR) between areas placed under GCQ and MGCQ for any purpose shall be permitted subject to the reasonable regulations imposed by the local government unit (LGU) concerned, if any, and which should be submitted to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), or in the case of Boracay Island, subject to those imposed by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF).”

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the easement of restrictions will encourage local government units to reopen their destinations with minimum health and safety measures in place.

“These new policies, approved by the IATF, support the Department’s programs aimed at rebuilding the tourism industry to bring back lost jobs and livelihoods and stir local economies,” Puyat said.

Puyat added that this new directive also complements the DOT’s strategy to develop tourism circuits and travel corridors, such as the Ridge and Reef Corridor Plan between Baguio City and the provinces of Region 1 namely, La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, to help revive tourism under the new normal.

Ilocos Norte started welcoming tourists from Luzon on Wednesday. Batangas also welcomed its doors to divers.

Last October 1, Boracay likewise reopened to local tourists from areas under GCQ and MGCQ.

All these destinations require negative RT-PCR test results as part of the government’s “Test Before Travel” policy.

Tourists are also required to complete their online registration and health declaration at their respective LGU websites, and an issuance of a QR code for contactless transactions and contact tracing purposes, from travelers before entry.

Puyat said despite reopening of tourist destinations, health protocols will remain in place.

“The flexible travel movements, however, do not mean that we will be relaxing our health standards. We will continue to work with the LGUs in enforcing safety protocols and enhanced hygiene measures in all sectors of the tourism industry,” she said.

On Wednesday, the Department of Trade and Industry also issued Memorandum Circular No. 20-53 recategorizing travel agencies, tour operators, reservation service and related activities from Category IV to Category III. This means they are allowed to reopen at 50% operational capacity for areas placed under GCQ and at 100% capacity for areas under MGCQ, subject to minimum public health standards and protocols.”

Tourism Congress of the Philippines President Jojo Clemente said there will be companies which will remain closed due to financial and health concerns. He added that some of them will not reopen “until steady income is expected.”

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