Philippines eyes 'travel bubbles' with virus-free countries

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2020 12:23 PM | Updated as of Jun 26 2020 12:32 PM

Boracay Island. Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - The Philippines is eyeing the adoption of travel bubbles that will allow international tourists from COVID-free countries to visit select tourist spots in the country that have only a few cases of the virus.

"We are looking at, in the near future, travel bubbles or travel corridors. Ibig sabihin, we are talking to different countries na halos walang COVID-19 cases na puwede na silang lumipad diretso sa tourist destination," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said in a virtual press briefing.

(It means we are talking to different coutnries that have few COVID-19 cases so their tourists can fly straight to the tourist destination.)

Among the destinations being considered for travel bubbles are Bohol, Boracay, and Palawan since these have low cases of COVID-19.

"At least, hindi lang tayo limited to domestic tourism but international tourism as well," Puyat said.

(This is so that we will not be limited to domestic tourism alone.)

The Philippines only allows leisure travel in areas under modified general community quarantine or MGCQ with tourism business operations cut in half of its original capacity.

The tourism industry which employs some 5.7 million workers in the country is among the worst-hit sectors by the coronavirus pandemic due to travel bans and restrictions on leisure activities.

It was only this month that the Philippines started to largely ease coronavirus restrictions to revive its economy bruised by the pandemic.