MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Tuesday expressed support for the Department of Interior and Local Government’s ongoing streamlining of entry requirements and procedures implemented by various local government units.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the DOT has long been advocating for the simplification of travel requirements citing it is “critical in making domestic tourism work.”
“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public's safety and well-being. Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols," Puyat said.
Based on the survey titled “The Evolving Landscape of Domestic Tourism,” released by the DOT last week, 81% of respondents consider the varying LGU entry requirements as a factor that makes travel “most inconvenient.”
The survey was conducted by the DOT with Asian Institute of Management (AIM) – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines from Nov. 28 to Dec. 30, 2020. A total of 7,234 respondents from all 78 provinces participated in the poll.
LGUs usually ask for medical certificate, pre-travel and 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.
The DOT has recommended to make COVID-19 test standard requirement for entry to a destination.
“Kung sana may test before travel, wala nang medical certificate. Imagine mo negative ka na sa RT-PCR [test], kukuha ka pa ng medical certificate sa doctor mo. Parang ang dami kailangan mangyari bago ka maka-travel," Puyat said in an interview with TV Patrol
Asked for her reaction on Cebu City dropping the RT-PCR test requirement, Puyat said the agency is in favor of the safe reopening of tourist destinations. She said this allows to restart the economy and help the tourism workers gain back their jobs.
“The DOT fully recognizes the prerogative of our LCEs (local chief executive)s in deciding what protocols will best suit their particular situations,” she said in a statement sent to Philstar.com.
“But we remind our tourists and stakeholders of the need to still strictly ensure minimum health and safety protocols such as wearing of a mask and face shield, physical distancing, hand sanitizing, and booking or operating in DOT accredited establishments, among others to protect both the tourists, tourism workers and the residents of our host communities,” she added.
On Monday, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued an executive order easing the travel restrictions for travelers to the province on tourism-related activities. The province no longer requires taking of an RT-PCR swab for entry.