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Statement of Department of Tourism

The Department of Tourism (DOT), consistent with the President’s direction, has been engaging with the local governments, other national government agencies and local tourism stakeholders for the gradual reopening of the sector while underscoring the strict compliance of health and safety protocols.

Earlier this year, the DOT rolled-out two digital applications, Safe Pass and Eat-In Express, to help DOT-accredited establishments and restaurants reopen with contactless operations for free. Through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the DOT funded Baguio City’s Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (V.I.S.I.T.A.), a multi-platform digital monitoring application to help with border control and contact tracing.

Moreover, the various Regional Offices of the Department have identified several tourism circuits that can be activated in light of the new normal. These tourism circuits shall also have both new and recalibrated tourism products with corresponding health and safety protocols. Similar to the Ridge to Reef Corridor of Baguio City with the Provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan, these circuits may either be inter-region or inter-provinces depending on the readiness of the local governments to accept new visitors.

Aside from the aforementioned Ridge to Reef Corridor, the Boracay Interagency Task Force (BIATF) had earlier approved the reopening of Boracay Island to travelers from Western Visayas starting June 16.

The DOT will explore similar corridors, circuits, and safe reopening, involving destinations that have low or no cases of COVID-19 with full support from LGUs, tourism private sector, and host communities.

Over tourism is the old normal. The DOT has repeatedly underscored that economic gains will be pursued along with safe, responsible and sustainable tourism. Establishing corresponding capacity requirements with health and safety protocols is the new normal.

Domestic Tourism is the backbone of the industry. The DOT looks forward, subject to the Local Government’s support, to its granular activation by the last quarter of this year and until the first six months of 2021. Once border controls are lifted by other countries, the DOT foresees regional international visitors by the second half of 2021.

Published:February 11, 2021

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