DOT: Remove age restriction for Boracay tourists

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
DOT: Remove age restriction for Boracay tourists
Earlier this week, the Boracay IATF approved the reopening of the island after a meeting with Aklan Gov. Joeben Miraflores.
The STAR / Miguel De Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — Tourists regardless of age should be allowed to visit Boracay when it reopens to visitors from areas under general community quarantine or GCQ next week.

“We are proposing no age restriction because Filipinos travel as families. As long as they are negative in the RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) swab test... with no symptom and follow health and safety standards,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in an interview with CNN Philippines yesterday.

Puyat said the proposal has yet to be approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF.

Earlier this week, the Boracay IATF approved the reopening of the island after a meeting with Aklan Gov. Joeben Miraflores.

“Targeting a safe and calibrated resumption of tourism business, several measures have been prescribed by the task force,” Puyat said.

Boracay reopened in June to tourists from Western Visayas, including those below 21 and above 60.

“The reopening of Boracay to new market sources signals a gathering momentum for domestic tourism all over the country. We are pleased that the BIATF and LGUs (local government units) of Aklan and Malay have agreed to put health and safety as priority as we carefully and safely welcome guests to the island,” Puyat said.

Open up, LGUs told

As this developed, Puyat urged LGUs under more relaxed quarantine to also open up their tourist sites.

“We will talk to LGUs to allow tourism for residents outside their city, municipality or province since almost all tourist destinations are under MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) or GCQ,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

Puyat said she hopes more LGUs would follow Baguio City and Boracay.

Baguio will accept tourists from Ilocos while Boracay will reopen to travelers from areas under MGCQ and GCQ, including Metro Manila, both on Oct 1.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has been working on the reopening of the tourism industry, which was hardest hit by quarantine restrictions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

Puyat noted that 4.8 million of the 5.7 million workers in the tourism industry in 2019 either lost their jobs or suffered salary cuts.

The DOT had earlier discussed with local government officials in Palawan and Bohol the reopening of their tourist sites. – Ghio Ong

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