Tourism chief urges more areas to reopen despite COVID-19 fears

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2020 10:43 AM

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Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo–Puyat said Thursday she was working to convince more local governments to accept holiday-makers despite their fears over the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Almost all" tourist destinations in the country are already under the least stringent coronavirus lockdown level, she said. 

"Ang problema lang, medyo may takot silang magbukas to people outside of their province or city," Romulo–Puyat told TeleRadyo. 

(The problem is, they are a bit wary of opening to people outside of their province or city.)

"Kailangan natin kausapin lahat ng ating local government units na pumayag na sana silang magbukas ang turismo outside ng kanilang city, municipality o probinsya," she said. 

(We need to talk to all our local government units to agree to reopening their tourism industry to those outside their city, municipality or province.) 

International tourist arrivals have dropped by 75 percent due to the pandemic. Out of 5.7 million tourism workers in 2019, 4.8 million have lost their jobs or suffered a pay cut as of Thursday, said Romulo-Puyat. 

The mountain city of Baguio on Oct. 1 will start accepting tourists from neighboring Ilocos Region, said the official. 

Romulo–Puyat said she would ask an inter-agency task force to allow Metro Manila residents to visit Boracay when it further reopens on Oct. 1 and remove age restrictions for tourists in the island. 

"Tinatrabaho natin na unti-unti nang magsisimula ang turismo, pero safe but sure," she said. 

(We are working for the tourism industry to slowly reopen, safely but surely.)

TeleRadyo, Sept. 24, 2020