MANILA - More tourist destinations will allow fully vaccinated travelers without confirmatory swab tests as their workers receive full protection against COVID-19, the Department of Tourism said Wednesday.
Baguio, Iloilo City, Negros Occidental have fully vaccinated its tourism workers and travelers with two doses of the COVID-19 jab are no longer required to present a negative RT-PCR test, according to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Boracay will soon follow after it reaches 100 percent vaccination rate by next month, Romulo-Puyat said.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose, she added.
"Our goal na lang is we want to vaccinate 100 percent (of tourism workers) before the Christmas season," she told ANC's Headstart.
"There's really no problem with the tourism sector. Everybody, all our tourism workers want to be vaccinated."
Boracay no longer has an active COVID-19 case, according to Romulo-Puyat. Its latest virus patient was reported last week who suffered from mild symptoms, she added.
"The only thing we've proven about this is vaccines work. It's not only the vaccination, I have to give credit to the LGU (local government unit) and private sector because it's not about you're vaccinated but you still have to implement the minimum health protocols," she said.
"Wear a mask when you can, (observe) physical distancing with people. Stick within your bubble pa rin, wash your hands."
The Philippines is also "in talks" with other Asian countries and is eyeing a travel bubble with South Korea as it is the country's "number 1 tourist market," Romulo-Puyat said.
"Though walanq (there's no) quarantine coming here...but the problem is pagbalik nila may quarantine pa rin sila ng 14 days," she said.
(The problem is when they return to their country they still have to be quarantined for 14 days.)
"Hopefully this will ease up. Every week nagbabago naman eh (it changes), countries are slowly opening up. Hopefully by Christmas this won't be the case, it won’t be a problem going here and coming back to their countries."
The tourism chief said she hopes the sector will rebound earlier than 2023.
"Our tourist destinations really miss their guests. Miss na miss na daw nila ang mga turista, yung pagod...We're saying kasi it’s still more fun but you can still be safe," she said of the agency's new advertisement, "It's More Fun with You."
(They really miss their guests, the time when they felt tired.)