MANILA -- Tourists may only need to pay a quarter of the original room rates in some establishments in Boracay, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said Monday, as local authorities sought to lure more visitors to the resort island that the coronavirus pandemic had shuttered for half a year.
"Napagkasunduan na para ma-offset iyong RT-PCR test na medyo may kamahalan, nag-agree ang mga tour operators at saka mga tourist establishments na magbibigay sila ng as much as 75-percent discount on room rates," Miraflores said in a press briefing.
(Tour operators and tourist establishments agreed to give as much as 75-percent discount on room rates to offset the cost of RT-PCR tests that are a bit expensive.)
Those who want to visit Boracay need a negative PCR coronavirus test result 48 to 72 hours before their trip. They also need to register online, the tourism department earlier said. Boracay tourists should also wear anti-virus masks "all the time" and observe physical distancing.
Boracay on Oct. 1 reopened to tourists from across the country after initially welcoming only travelers from Western Visayas.
The resort island last year closed for 6 months to give way to a rehabilitation of its sewage system. It reopened in October 2019, only to be shuttered again by the pandemic last March.
Boracay remains free of COVID-19 after 135 tourists arrived in the island between Oct. 1 and 3, said Miraflores.
Tourists can call hotline 152 should they need medical assistance, the governor said.
"Safe na safe ang Boracay," he said.
To attract more visitors, businessmen are suggesting that tourists should be required to undergo cheaper and faster antigen tests at the airport, said Henann Group of Resorts chairman Henry Chusuey.
"The more you give hassle to them, the more people will not come," he said. "If it's easier for the tourist... more tourists, I believe, will come and more employment will be given to the workers."
Antigen tests will be used in other areas of the country if its pilot run in Baguio City succeeds, said Roque.
The antigen test analyzes nasal and oral specimen, and can yield results in 15 minutes, testing czar COVID-19 testing czar Vince Dizon earlier said.
Similar to the PCR or polymerase chain reaction test, the gold standard in screening, the antigen tests detects “current infection—meaning whether you are infectious now," he added.