MANILA-- The government's authorization of "staycations" in Metro Manila and other general community quarantine areas marks the reopening of tourism in the Philippine capital, Malacañang said Monday as it asked the public to give the initiative a chance.
Over the weekend, the Department of Tourism said it has received approval from the government's pandemic response task force to allow staycations or short-term leisure stays in hotels.
"That marks the beginning of the reopening of our tourism industry here in Manila," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
"Let's give it a chance dahil gaya po ng ating ad campaign, pwede naman pong pag-ingatan ang buhay para po makapag-hanapbuhay ang lahat," he added.
(We can all be careful so that everyone can go to work.)
Roque allayed concerns that the move might encourage the public to pursue unnecessary trips during the health crisis, saying the policy is in line with the government's strategy of gradual economic reopening even as Metro Manila remains as the coronavirus epicenter of the Philippines.
"Talagang unti-unti nating binubuksan ang ating ekonomiya at ito pong pinaplano natin ng DOT ay alinsunod naman sa unti-unting pagbubukas ng sektor ng turismo," Roque said.
(We are slowly opening our economy and the DOT plan is in line with the gradual reopening of the tourism sector.)
Tourism worldwide was badly-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic after governments sought to limit movement among people to prevent the spread of the virus.
As a result, the industry was forced to cut jobs, particularly among airlines and travel agencies.
The Philippines is restarting the industry after the government stabilized relaxed virus restrictions in most parts of the country.
Most parts of the Philippines have eased to more relaxed community quarantines with the exemption of Iligan City, Bacolod City, and Lanao del Sur which remain under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine until the end of the month.