DOT, Grab sign deal for sustainable PHL tourism

Robie de Guzman   •   August 29, 2019   •   854

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) and Grab Philippines have signed an agreement to promote national tourism.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked on Wednesday, tourism materials developed and produced by the DOT showcasing the Philippines’ destination sites will be promoted and disseminated by Grab through its partner vehicles and mobile application.

DOT, Grab and the Intramuros Administration also launched “GrabWheels,” a two-wheel personal mobility device (commonly called e-scooters) that tourists can use to roam around the Walled City.

Around 30 units of GrabWheels will be made available for public use within Intramuros, free of charge for at least three months.

“This is in keeping with the efforts of the DOT to inculcate a culture of sustainable tourism. This is what we envision to do to some, and ideally, to all of our destinations. We want visitors to have access to an eco-friendly but fun mode of transportation,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the MOU signing. 

“Sustainability demands that our planning and resources management must be responsible. Conversely, it should also maintain a high level of satisfaction and ensure meaningful experience of our tourists,” she stressed.

The Intramuros Administration also noted that these e-scooters will provide less carbon footprint and significantly reduce traffic congestion, which is a major problem in the area.

“This is just a pilot test. After a month, we will review its reception and determine the necessary mechanisms and setting of fees to make it sustainable,” Atty. Guiller Asido of the Intramuros Administration said.

Puyat also expressed hope that DOT’s partnership with Grab PH will help raise awareness among the public about the environmental issues facing the country.

“This partnership, hopefully, will raise their awareness about environmental issues and allow them to experience first-hand these sustainable tourism practices,” she said. 

DOT announces Boracay now open to youths, seniors from Western Visayas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has announced that young and senior tourists from Western Visayas are now allowed to visit Boracay Island.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Boracay will reopen for tourists, ages below 21 and above 60, from Western Visayas.

“This move aims to further reinvigorate the tourism economy in the region and address the earlier clamor of Boracay tourism stakeholders to attract more tourists to the island,” she said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday (July 23) approved the DOT’s recommendation to lift the ban on tourists below 21 and above 60 on Boracay island.

Puyat assured the government will continue to put the safety of the public first and will strictly implement health and safety protocol as the island reopens. She also noted that there were no reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on the island.

“The DOT will always put paramount concern on the safety of our people — tourists and residents alike,” she said. AAC

DOT mandates maximum of double occupancy for hotels under ‘new normal’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 21, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has mandated hotels and other tourism-related accommodations to only have a maximum of double occupancy as part of the ‘new normal’.

According to DOT Usec. Arturo Boncato, they will limit the occupancy or capacity of hotel accommodations up to two persons per room. This also includes limiting the number of customers in restaurants.

“DOT will be mandating a maximum of double occupancy for all of the hotels. And for restaurants starting with 50% occupancy in terms of operations for in-dining,” he said.

The Tourism Department said they will release the set of policies to be implemented once the operation of tourism-related establishments resume under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

Other safety measures include regular sanitation and disinfection, supply of sanitation/disinfecting provisions for workers; regular inspection of health and safety standards being implemented. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Over 1,000 stranded tourists across the Philippines return home

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 4, 2020

Over 1,000 stranded tourists in various destinations in the country have returned home, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in a statement said that the groups arrived from various local airports on seven sweeper flights arranged by the DOT.

“A total of 1,049 distressed travelers reached Manila in succeeding schedules. On Friday, 180 tourists arrived from Puerto Princesa, 60 from El Nido and 144 from Boracay,” the DOT said in a statement.

DOT-NCR Regional Director Woodrow C. Maquiling, Jr. said the returning tourists were subjected to rapid anti-body testing at the airport. He also reported that none of them tested positive for the coronavrus disease (COVID-19).

“To date, the DOT has assisted some 22,264 foreign visitors and 2,505 local tourists stranded in the past month-and-half under ECQ,” the DOT said. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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