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Zambales opening borders, beaches to tourists

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - December 13, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) will assist Zambales as it prepares to reopen its borders to local tourists.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat assured Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane of the certification for the reopening of the province to tourism during an online planning and consultation forum on Friday.

“Zambales is one of the most prepared and best managed areas in terms of curbing the spread of the coronavirus disease,” Puyat said.

She said the DOT would assist the province, particularly on health protocols, to restore the confidence of tourists and assure locals welcoming visitors of their safety.

DOT said it would fund a visitor management system similar to what the DOT provided to Baguio City through its Tourism Promotions Board.

Puyat said the DOT would continue its inspection and accreditation of tourism-related establishments in the province and the provision of capability-building training on the implementation of health and safety guidelines.

Data from the DOT-Central Luzon office shows that Zambales was among the most visited destinations in Central Luzon.

In 2019, it ranked second in the region in terms of tourist arrivals, which translated into P1.9 billion in tourism expenditure.

“The Zambales coastline is most famous for its sandy beaches and deep blue sea teeming with coral reefs which is home to giant clams or as the locals call it, taklobo. It is perfect for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts,” the DOT said.

Puyat said the government provides assistance for tourism workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. – Ralph Edwin Villanueva, Ric Sapnu

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