MANILA — Bohol’s Panglao Island might re-open for tourism in November, an official said, with the provincial government looking forward to offset the economic impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“We will open a bubble corridor. Uunahin natin yung municipality where Panglao International Airport is,” said Bohol Governor Arthur Yap during a Laging Handa briefing on Thursday.
(We will open a bubble corridor. We will start with the municipality where Panglao International Airport is.)
Yap said the government will follow the advice of the Department of Tourism to open tourism bubbles instead of easing lockdown on the entire province.
“What we are going to do is open up Panglao first, possibly by November and then mag-accredit tayo ng establishments doon,” he added.
(What we are going to do is open up Panglao first, possibly by November and then we’ll accredit establishments there.)
Yap said travelers or travel coordinators can simply register on their website where they will receive an authorized QR code, which will be used to book a ticket. Once they arrive in Panglao, they will be fetched and brought to an accredited hotel.
“Yung bibisitahin mo lahat naka-plan. Walang do-it-yourself ngayon,” he said, explaining that this will ensure that travelers from other places will stay segregated or stay within their bubble.
(All the places you will visit will be planned. There will be no do-it-yourself tours.)
Travelers will be required to undergo polymerase chain reaction test to prove that they are negative of COVID-19. Those who plan to stay longer than 5 days will have to take a confirmatory test later on.
Yap said they plan to cater to events for now instead of mass tourism.
“Destination packages ang gusto namin ipromote ngayon. Mas madali i-manage if isa o dalawa lang kausap natin sa grupo na yun,” he said.
(We want to promote destination packages for now. It’s easier to manage if you are just talking to one or two persons per group.)
Yap said they will study what will happen to Panglao before opening up the rest of Bohol to other forms of tourism.
The governor, however, assured the public that measures are in place to protect residents from COVID-19.
He said the province is also spending on irrigation to ensure food security on the island.
Yap said the province has improved its COVID-19 response, including the use of technology such as contact tracing cards, which use QR codes to track people.