Tourism website lists open tourist spots in Philippines
Visitors enjoy the roller coaster and other thrill rides at Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna, which was re-opened to the public yesterday. The theme park operates under strict safety and health protocols and admits only those aged 21 to 59.
Geremy Pintolo
Tourism website lists open tourist spots in Philippines
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A website listing all the open tourist spots in the Philippines amid the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The website philippines.travel/safeph lists all of the country’s 81 provinces and the tourist spots open in each province.

The following areas are currently accepting tourists nationwide, whatever the community quarantine status: Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan; Clark Freeport Zone and some destinations in Pampanga; Anilao in Batangas; Tagaytay Highlands and select golf and country clubs in Cavite; and Boracay Island.

Some tourist destinations will be accepting tourists from specific areas: Ilocos Norte for residents of Luzon; Baguio for tourists from several areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila.

Other tourist sites in the country listed in the website would accept travelers within their respective cities, provinces or regions.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Friday new policies set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) have eased travel restrictions and would help revive the country’s tourism industry.

In a resolution, the IATF now allows those not classified as authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) to travel between areas under both general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.

It also adjusted the age group of people allowed outdoors, from 21 to 60 years to those aged 15 to 65.

“The flexible travel movements, however, do not mean that we will be relaxing our health standards,” Puyat said.

Earlier, the DOT ordered tourism establishments to implement health and safety standards set by the IATF to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

The DOT website enumerated requirements by local governments that travelers should prepare before visiting. These include booking details from DOT-accredited hotels and negative swab test results.

However, some netizens reacted with dismay over the requirements necessary for travelers, citing inconsistencies in those set by different tourist spots and the respective local government units.

There were also foreigners who commented on DOT’s announcement, begging for the country to open up to international tourists. Most of them were asking to loosen up the “restrictive policies” and reduce the extra costs needed for the requirements.

Travel agencies reopen

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) gave the green light for the operation of travel agencies, tour operators and reservation activities in GCQ and MGCQ areas.

In Memorandum Circular (MC) 20-53 which took effect yesterday, the DTI recategorized these businesses from Category IV to Category III, enabling them to resume operations at 50 percent capacity in GCQ areas and 100 percent in places under MGCQ.

The DTI also said travel agencies and tour operators would have to follow the mandatory health standards and protocols.

A post-audit mechanism would be conducted by the DTI to check compliance with the MC. The tourism, labor and health departments may also conduct inspections to ensure the circular is followed.

The move follows the recent decision to allow hotels to operate for “staycation” guests to restart the tourism industry.

Under the guidelines issued by the DOT, hotels in areas under GCQ would need to secure a certificate of authority to operate for staycation from the agency.

Guests will need to show they tested negative using a rapid antigen test taken on the same day of check-in.

“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. – Louella Desiderio

DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
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