BORACAY reopens, heralds “protected, gradual” revival of Philippine tourism
B.ORACAY – The reopening of Boracay, the Philippines’ prime destination, to new market sources signals the safe and gradual recovery of the country’s tourism industry amid the pandemic, Tourism Minister Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said on Thursday (Oct.1).
Boracay Island white sand beach
She said reopening the island was “a critical first step” in recovering domestic tourism and providing a boost to domestic tourism across the country. This gives the country’s tourism industry a glimmer of hope, especially for those who count on tourism to survive.
“What could be a better way to announce the revival of Filipino tourism than the reopening of the world-famous Boracay Island?” She said.
Determining that no cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported on the island, Puyat pledged state assistance in ensuring health and safety logs are in place. She stressed that the safety and well-being of tourists and local residents remain a top priority for the Ministry of Tourism (DOT).
She said: “The DOT, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) with the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Roy Cimatu, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Eduardo Ano, of Aklan Province and the Malay community has implemented improved hygiene and safety protocols for entry points, accommodations and activities. We recommend all tourists to be in strict quarantine immediately after the PCR test and until their trip to the island. This is to ensure they stay COVID-19 free before their visit to Boracay. “
BORACAY reopens, announcing a “safe, gradual” revival of Filipino tourism
After the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force accepted visitors from Western Visayas in June, it has now allowed visitors from other regions to enter Boracay with a general quarantine classification (GCQ).
In a press conference on Thursday, Puyat reiterated that although the age limit has been relaxed to allow travelers under the age of 21 and over 60, only those without underlying diseases and those with negative RT-PCR results are allowed to enter the island via the airport Godofredo P. Ramos in Caticlan. The test should be done at least 48 hours before traveling to the island.
A confirmed booking at a DOT accredited property, airline tickets, and negative test results should be submitted online at http://aklan.gov.ph for approval by the Aklan Provincial Government. Every visitor authorized to travel to the island will then receive a unique personal QR code for monitoring.
The tourism chief added that the success of Boracay’s reopening, although health and safety protocols have been put in place, will largely depend on one important factor: the adherence and cooperation of the island’s guests.
“We urge our visitors to be responsible tourists. Follow the guidelines, follow the rules. We can never be too complacent, even when we are on vacation we must adhere to minimum health protocols. Let’s wear our mask if possible. “
Meanwhile, DOT accredited hotels each have a designated health and safety officer who can call the Boracay COVID hotline number 152 if any of the guests show symptoms of the virus. The data from the QR code system will be used to identify the close contacts in the event a guest on the island tests positive for the coronavirus.
Boracay Island in Aklan from Rj Baculo via Unsplash
The DOT facilitated the sale of essential medical devices to ensure destination readiness for addressing COVID-related concerns. This included donations from the Makati Medical Center group, which included training for the local medical staff at Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital and Boracay Clinic. In addition, the Filinvest City Foundation, in collaboration with the RT-PCR machine donations from the Crimson Hotel Boracay, was handed over to the Covid-19 laboratory located in the Dr. Rafael Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo has been completed.
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