Hotels may soon be allowed to accept more guests – DOT

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2020   •   912

MANILA, Philippines – Hotels in areas classified under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ will soon be allowed to accept guests at full capacity in a bid to help the tourism industry recover from the effects of the pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Wednesday.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has given the authority to the DOT to determine the allowable operational capacity for hotels, including those that offer staycations.

Puyat, however, stressed that the decision to open at 100% capacity will be up to the hotel management and subject to compliance with safety guidelines.

The announcement follows the issuance last week of an IATF resolution which amends the provision that only allows establishments in GCQ areas to operate with a skeleton work force.

For accommodation establishments in areas declared to be under MGCQ, Resolution No. 79 provides that the DOT shall determine their allowable operational capacity from the previous provision for a maximum of 50% operational capacity.

Operational capacity is defined by the IATF as such a number of employees who can be permitted to physically report to work on-site.

“Also approved in the said resolution is the easing up of interzonal and intrazonal movement, which is the predicate to reviving domestic tourism,” Puyat said.

“Along with this comes the need to ready the whole tourism value chain, which includes the accommodation, transportation, and tour operation sectors. Allowing the accommodation sector to operate at full capacity will be most welcomed by tourism’s workforce that has been greatly affected since the community lockdown,” she added.

The DOT is set to issue guidelines for the expanded operational capacity of hotels, she further stated.

Puyat earlier directed all hotels and other tourism establishments in GCQ areas to secure a DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycations (DCAOS) prior to accommodating any guests for that purpose.

Boracay’s White Beach, El Nido’s Nacpan Beach make list of TripAdvisor’s top beaches in Asia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Boracay’s white beach, and El Nido, Palawan’s Nacpan Beach are among the top beaches in Asia, according to TripAdvisor.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the inclusion of two of the country’s famous beaches. TripAdvisor has ranked White Beach at the 12th spot and El Nido, Palawan’s Nacpan Beach at 18th.

“The TripAdvisor recognition is all the more heartwarming as sun and beach have always been the country’s best tourism products,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Puyat also said the two beaches are among the first destinations the tourism department has opened up.

Based on the travel survey, travelers have new preferences when it comes to choosing holiday destinations due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The DOT noted that other key implications from the evolved travelers’ preferences, based on TripAdvisor, include outdoors and well-ventilated areas over confined spaces or facilities which re-circulate air.

Meanwhile, Puyat reminded travelers about the health and safety protocols in various tourist destinations in the country.

“And while we celebrate our beaches being named among the best in Asia, please be responsible tourists when travelling. Follow all the health and safety protocols for a safe and fun beach trip,” she said. AAC

Metro Manila, Baguio City, Davao City to stay under GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila remains under general community quarantine (GCQ) for another month starting March 1, as announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Aside from National Capital Region (NCR), the following areas will also be under GCQ beginning March 1:

  • Baguio City (Luzon)
  • Davao City (Luzon)
  • Batangas (Luzon)
  • Apayao (Luzon)
  • Kalinga (Luzon)
  • Mt. Province  (Luzon)
  • Tacloban City (Visayas)
  • Iligan City (Mindanao)
  • Lanao del Sur (Mindanao)

Meanwhile, the rest of the country will remain under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until the end of March.

Tourism dept. backs DILG move to streamline travel requirements

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support for the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline the travel procedures and requirements being imposed by local government units (LGU).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her department has long been advocating for the “simplification of travel requirement as this is critical in making domestic tourism work.”

Citing a survey conducted from November 28 to December 30, 2020, Puyat said that 81 percent of respondents consider the varying LGU requirements as the factor that makes travel most inconvenient.

The survey was conducted by the DOT in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

Among the common travel requirements being imposed by the LGUs are the medical certificate, other types of pre-travel or test-on-arrival COVID tests and quarantine.  

At the destinations, some rules that need to be standardized are those that relate to RT-PCR for children/infant, rooming or capacity limits and age restrictions vis-à-vis inter- and intra-regional movement of domestic tourists, the DOT said.

“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public’s safety and well-being,” Puyat said.

“Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols,” she added.

The DILG earlier expressed support for proposals to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification to “harmonize” regulations being implemented by LGUs.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to remove “redundancies” and impose less stringent requirements for domestic tourist travel, while managing health risks at the same time.

He, however, emphasized that the less restrictive quarantine classification would not mean abandoning health protocols but simply streamlining regulations to bring back jobs and revive the economy battered by the pandemic.

The DILG said works on streamlining regulations for domestic travel are ongoing to encourage tourism and revive the sector, as well as the country’s economy in general.

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