DOT welcomes reopening of El Nido to more tourists
“We thank and congratulate the provincial and local government officials and tourism stakeholders of Palawan for moving on to the second phase of El Nido’s travel bubble,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
DOT/Released
DOT welcomes reopening of El Nido to more tourists
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - October 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is supporting the decision of the El Nido town government to ease travel restrictions and allow more tourists to visit under a test-before-travel policy starting Oct. 30.

“We thank and congratulate the provincial and local government officials and tourism stakeholders of Palawan for moving on to the second phase of El Nido’s travel bubble,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

She emphasized that tourists must undergo RT-PCR test and get their negative test results 72 hours prior to their trip.

On Friday, Puyat met with Palawan local government officials, including Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez and El Nido Mayor Edna Lim, as well as some tourism stakeholders to finalize details of the expansion of the province’s travel bubble.

“The tourism industry’s reopening is gradually building momentum, especially after the news about the re-opening of Boracay and the Ridge and Reef travel bubble between Baguio and the provinces of Region 1. Considering that Palawan’s El Nido has been consistently voted as the world’s best island, I would also like El Nido to be seen as part of the industry’s rebirth,” she said.

Puyat, who visited El Nido in July to conduct inspections among tourism establishments to ensure their compliance with DOT’s health and safety guidelines, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic cost El Nido P3.2 billion in visitor receipts and displaced 5,997 of its tourism workers.

“After successfully complying with the protocols set by the DOT, the El Nido Resorts was the first tourism establishment in Palawan to obtain a CAO (Certificate of Authority to Operate) and to reopen its doors to tourists from outside the province through the travel bubble strategy,” the DOT said.

Under this set-up, guests from Manila that have obtained a negative RT-PCR test result 72 hours prior to date of travel are allowed to board the eight flights to Lio Airport via Airswift and stay at one of the island locations of the resort chain.

Puyat said nine establishments have obtained the CAO from the DOT while 27 others were given provisional CAOs.

She added that following successful runs of the travel bubble strategy between Manila and El Nido, the DOT is now taking further steps to increase visitor confidence and awareness about Palawan’s preparedness in terms of medical services and facilities, as well as emergency response protocols, sharing the best practices employed in the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor Plan between Baguio City and Region 1, and in Boracay Island in implementing contactless processes in contact tracing.

Several tourism destinations in the country have begun opening their doors to domestic tourists, such as Baguio City and Ilocos Sur, which said they will open their areas to tourists from GCQ areas, including the National Capital Region (NCR), starting Oct. 22 and Nov. 15, respectively.

Puyat said 199 accommodation and tourism establishments in Ilocos Norte have been given the CAO after successfully complying with health and safety guidelines.

She added that domestic tourism will remain the key focus of the DOT next year, as the local market is expected to rebuild the trust and confidence in the travel market. – Ralph Edwin Villanueva

EL NIDO
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