Provinces that are reopening their tourist attrcations are focusing on domestic visitors initially, with Boracay only allowing guests from the immediate region, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
Ms. Puyat estimated that 50% of tourism establishments in areas under modified general community quarantine can now operate.
The governor of Aklan province and the mayor of Malay, Aklan, have indicated their intention to open the resort island of Boracay only to visitors from the Western Visayas.
“Gusto raw nila slow but sure yung pagbukas (They want to open slowly but surely),” she said at the Laging Handa briefing.
Ms. Puyat also said the governors of Palawan and Bohol, which are both under eased quarantine conditions, intend to open their provinces for domestic tourism first.
“So sa domestic tourism pa nga lang…pwede nang unti-unti na magkakatrabaho ang ating tourism stakeholders at mabubuhay ang turismo (Domestic visitors will do for now as the industry slowly returns to work),” she said.
Ms. Puyat noted that tourism accounted for 12.7% of gross domestic product in 2018, with 10.8% of that total generated by domestic tourism.
The government is also studying a strategy of “travel bubbles,” which would allow visitors from low-infection countries like New Zealand and Australia to directly visit some destinations with international airports.
“We have 12 international airports. May options sila (they have the option) to fly (directly to) zero-COVID destinations,” she said.
In 2019, the Philippines took in 8.26 million international visitors, breaching the 8.2 million target.
“But of course (arrivals are) very hard to predict for this year because of all the different travel restrictions,” she said. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas