Tourism web­site lists open tourist spots in Phl

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - By GHIO ONG

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 philip­ 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.

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.

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