Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Wednesday enjoined industry stakeholders to assist the Department of Tourism (DOT) in convincing and preparing destinations for eventual tourism reopening, specifically those under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
“I talked to the Tourism Congress of the Philippines asking help to talk to each and every LGUs (local government units) with the stakeholders of not only tourism but non-tourism. We’ll do it regional,” she said in an interview with One News.
Romulo-Puyat noted that a lot of provinces have already shifted to MGCQ, meaning they can already accept tourists.
However, the reality on the ground is that provinces are still hesitant to open up to people outside of their respective regions.
The official said she understands where the LGUs are coming from and even cited Baguio as an example, which is still boosting their preparations and health protocols before accepting travelers in September.
“The non-tourism stakeholders should also be included (during consultations) to assure them (LGUs) that once we start tourism–slowly but surely– health and safety protocols are in place,” she said.
Beyond consultative meetings, Romulo-Puyat also hoped that stakeholders would partner alongside the government when tourism under the new normal has finally begun.
“Hinihingi ko din sa stakeholders that when we finally do this kasama ko kayo sa tabi ko, hindi lang gobyerno, dapat kasama ko kayo to convince the non-tourism residents na safe ito (I’m hoping that when we finally do this, it should not be the government only, the stakeholders must be with us along the way to convince the non-tourism residents that this is safe,” she said.
Since the DOT issued guidelines for various tourism establishments amid the pandemic, Romulo-Puyat had been in talks with different LGUs in Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, and Baguio.
The first destination to reopen amid the new normal is the world-renowned Boracay Island, but only to tourists from Western Visayas.
Source: Philippines News Agency