‘Simplified’ travel restrictions key to boosting domestic tourism, says DOT’s Puyat

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2021 08:25 PM

‘Simplified’ travel restrictions key to boosting domestic tourism, says DOT’s Puyat 1
Panglao Island in Bohol is a paradise on its own with its long stretch of powdery white sand beaches. Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Saturday welcomed the government's decision to streamline travel protocols for all localities, as it would boost domestic tourism despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In an interview on ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the unified travel protocol would ease cross-border trips especially to Filipinos who wanted to travel come the summer season. 

"Ito simplified na at mas madali sa mga gustong gusto mag-travel . . . Sakto lang ito para maka-restart ang ating tourism at magkaroon na ng trabaho ang lahat ng nawalan ng trabaho," said Puyat, who pointed out that she, too, became confused with the documents required by some local government units (LGU).

(This is simplified and easier to those who want to travel. The timing of the decision is also good to restart tourism and to help those who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.) 

Puyat added that some 81 percent of the people they recently surveyed expressed their willingness to travel, but were discouraged when they felt the process was laborious.

A total of 96 percent of the respondents, meanwhile, said their biggest consideration in traveling is the tourist spot's safety from COVID-19.

It was unclear, however, when the agency conducted the survey and how many were the respondents. 

"Mayroong PNP permit, medical certificate, affidavit of undertaking, so ngayon, medyo condusing. Ang dami-dami, gusto mo man mag-travel, ang dami-daming kailangang requirement," Puyat said. 

(We need these permits . . . So it is confusing because there's a lot. You want to travel, but we have several requirements.) 

"[Ngayon] wala na ang lahat ng travel protocols except kapag hiningi ng local government unit (LGU) ang RT-PCR [result]." 

(Now, travel protocols are fewer because you only need an RT-PCR result) 

Various LGUs have been enforcing their own entry guidelines. 

Malacañang earlier in the day said the inter-agency task force heading the country's pandemic response approved the Uniform Travel Protocols for all modes of transportation and public movement.

Those protocols were drafted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government in coordination with the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), the League of Provinces of the Philippines, the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, and the League of Cities of the Philippines.

Puyat earlier said the Philippines lost an estimated P400 billion in potential revenue from international tourists in 2020 as the country closed its borders due to COVID-19

The PSA's 2019 Philippine Tourism Satellite Accounts indicated that domestic tourism expenditure in 2019, meanwhile, amounted to P3.1 trillion.

The government has sought restarting the tourism sector after COVID-19 lockdowns were imposed, forcing the cancellation of non-essential movements such as leisure trips, and halting public transport, among others.