Duterte eyes visits to tourist stops to ease virus worries: DOT chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 18 2020 11:55 AM | Updated as of Feb 18 2020 12:31 PM

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MANILA -- Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said Tuesday President Rodrigo Duterte would join her in her tour of the country's tourist sports to lift the industry in the face of the coronavirus scare.

Duterte expressed intention to accompany the tourism chief in Boracay next week. He also wants to visit Bohol and Cebu, Romulo-Puyat told ANC's Headstart.

"What he said was he wants to travel with us to show the people that it's safe around the country," she said.

"What we have to tell our tourists is that it's safe to come to the country, no local transmission, and the tourism establishments are ready," she said.

Boracay took a hit from the temporary ban on inbound travel from China, where COVID-19 was first reported. Beijing on Tuesday said deaths breached the 1,800-mark.

Puyat said the government would compensate for lost Chinese arrivals by intensifying promotion in other main markets like South Korea and Japan.

Philippine tourism lost about P14.8 billion in February, as travelers postpone travel plans due to fears of contracting the virus, DOT Undersecretary Art Boncato Jr. earlier said in a Senate panel.