Top tourist destination Boracay will accept travelers from all over the Philippines beginning Oct. 1, the Department of Tourism said Wednesday.
All tourists would be required to present a negative confirmatory test result for COVID-19 taken 48 to 72 hours before their trip, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
She said the airlines had been advised to use the Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in Caticlan as the sole airport of entry to Boracay.
Also poised to reopen is Panglao Island in Bohol, which is hosting the hybrid edition of Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) 2020, organized by the Tourism Promotions Board.
“Bohol stands proud to have been chosen to host PHITEX 2020,” Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said in his address at the PHITEX opening ceremony.
Baguio City, including the four provinces in Region 1 that are part of the “Ridge to Reef” travel corridor program, will also officially reopen their tourism destinations beginning October, officials said Tuesday.
In a press briefing following the launch of Baguio’s first online management system for the tourism bubble, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said he is looking at October 1 as a target date for the resumption of tourist activities in the Philippines’ summer capital, with local visitors from Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan as their priority.
Dubbed the Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance, or VIS.I.T.A., the visitor management platform will be used to track the activities of visitors to protect the tourists and the communities.
In June, Boracay opened its doors to the residents of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Bacolod, and Iloilo after it closed last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 199 hotels and resorts on the island with a total of 4,416 rooms had been allowed to operate since June, Romulo-Puyat said.
Meanwhile, Yap said of Bohol and Panglao: “We are charting our course and trying our best to balance showcasing the beauty and the bounty of our waters and land as well as paying homage to our culture of faith, patriotism, and the creative arts alongside the need to ensure the safety of our visitors and our constituents.”
Yap’s administration is priming Panglao as a safe travel destination, touting the island as a travel bubble, a travel circuit with low or zero incidence of COVID-19.
Boracay is “well-prepared” for its opening next month, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.
“The preparations are well in place and we can say that come October. 1 Boracay is prepared for domestic tourists,” he said.
“Boracay has an isolation facility and those who test positive or are suspected of carrying the disease will be transferred to mainland Aklan.
The Philippines as of Tuesday reported 291,789 cases of COVID-19, with 5,049 deaths and 230,643 recoveries.
The Tourism department provided the technology to the Baguio local government for free through the Tourism Promotions Board in preparation for Baguio’s gradual reopening to tourists.
Last August, the city government of Baguio said the tourists planning to visit the “summer capital” would be required to pre-register through the Baguio VIS.I.T.A. and to pre-book their accommodations through accredited tour operators.
The city government says it is no longer necessary to secure a travel pass or travel authority because the platform registration also serves as the traveler’s pass to the city.
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