The Department of Tourism welcomes the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to allow travel for leisure purposes of all ages from the NCR Plus Bubble, subject to restrictions.
IATF’s Resolution No. 118A allows leisure travel to and from NCR Plus bubble from June 1 to 15, 2021 to areas under a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) when leisure travel was restricted before. All ages are subject to an RT-PCR test-before-travel requirement.
“Masayang masaya ako na finally makakaresume na ang tourism. Magkakatrabaho na yun mga walang trabaho ng napakatagal. More than one year na tayo into the pandemic alam naman natin yun (I am very happy with the resumption of tourism. The ones who lost their jobs can now regain their employment. We have been suffering for more than one year from the pandemic),” imparted Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat to the media during the tourism sites inspection in Baguio City and Benguet Province.
The Local Government Unit (LGU), however, still holds the key to leisure travel despite any protocol imposed by IATF.
A case in point is Baguio City which is still under GCQ (General Community Quarantine) status that has expressed their interest to open Baguio to all ages.
Puyat revealed that Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong proposed to DOT that they be allowed to accept leisure travelers of all ages from the NCR Plus as long as they undergo the RT-PCR test before travel. DOT supported the mayor’s proposal.
“We approved Mayor Magalong’s request even though the city is under GCQ; but, for the other places under GCQ, they still would have to write DOT to accept leisure travelers,” elaborated Puyat.
IATF Resolution 118A states that, regardless of age, leisure travel coming from the NCR Plus bubble shall also be point-to-point only, which means that while pit stops or stopovers are allowed for eating and personal necessities, no side trips shall be made to other tourism destinations.
“On behalf of the DOT, I thank our colleagues in the IATF for this development. Allowing leisure travel for all ages from the NCR Plus Bubble to MGCQ Areas will surely help local tourism back on track towards recovery,” she said.
NCR Plus covers Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
Other interzonal travel regulations set by the LGUs concerned, or, in the case of Boracay Island, those imposed by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF), shall also apply.
“We are looking forward to once again see our tourism destinations welcome tourists from the NCR Plus area. Of course, this has to be done with utmost precaution. The DOT shall continue to strengthen its coordination with our LGUs to ensure the strict compliance of health and safety protocols,” Puyat added.
DOT reminds all leisure travelers to book their RT-PCR test only with COVID-19 testing laboratories that are licensed and accredited by the Department of Health (DOH), and to practice minimum health protocols and responsible tourism when visiting the country’s reopened tourism destinations.