Only 15 hotels in Metro Manila allowed to accept ‘staycation’ guests – DOT

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2021   •   457

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) reiterated that not all four- or five-star accommodation establishments (AE) in Metro Manila are allowed to accept guests for leisure purposes.

In a statement on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said only those that have been granted by the DOT a certificate of authority to operate as staycation hotel can provide accommodation for leisure activities.

Puyat said only 15 establishments in the nation’s capital have been allowed to operate as “staycation” hotels and these are the following:

  • Grand Hyatt Hotel
  • Makati Shangri-La Hotel
  • Okada Manila Hotel
  • Shangri-La at the Fort
  • Nobu Hotel
  • Joy Nostalg Hotel and Suites Manila
  • EDSA Shangri-La Manila
  • Solaire Resort
  • Hyatt Regency City of Dreams
  • Nuwa Hotel City of Dreams
  • The Peninsula Manila
  • Aruga by Rockwell
  • Sheraton Manila Hotel
  • Hilton Manila
  • Hotel Okura Manila

Accommodation establishments that are not included in the list are either closed or operating as a quarantine facility, the DOT said.

“We would like to correct the misperception that all four- or five-star rated accommodation establishments can operate as staycation hotels. For a hotel to accept guests for leisure purposes, it has to apply for a Certificate of Authority to Operate as Staycation (CAOS) hotel,” the tourism chief said.

She also stressed that a hotel operating as a quarantine or isolation facility is prohibited from accepting guests for leisure purposes.

“With the authority is the responsibility to strictly adhere to the minimum health and safety guidelines. One has to pass the rigid inspection to ascertain that measures and systems are put in place and diligently practiced on a daily basis. It cannot, above all things, concurrently operate as a quarantine facility,” Puyat said.

Puyat made the statement after the DOT issued a show-cause order against City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati City where a 23-year old flight attendant was found dead in one of its rooms after attending a new year’s eve party.

The DOT asked the hotel to explain in three days why it should not be suspended as it is not accredited to operate as a staycation hotel.

“Lives are on the line and our economic recovery depends on everybody being responsible. Let us all perform our duties well. Each has an important part to play in managing this crisis,” Puyat said.

“This appeal is also aimed at AEs without CAOS and tour operators and other entities that continue to post invitations or make false, deceptive, and misleading claims or statements for the purpose of soliciting business from clients these non-staycation enterprises have been using social media to carry its ads,” she added.

Enterprises that wish to secure accreditation to operate as staycation hotels may submit their application through the department’s accreditation portal.

The department also urged the public to confirm via this link the operation status of an establishment before booking or checking-in. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Boracay’s White Beach, El Nido’s Nacpan Beach make list of TripAdvisor’s top beaches in Asia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Boracay’s white beach, and El Nido, Palawan’s Nacpan Beach are among the top beaches in Asia, according to TripAdvisor.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the inclusion of two of the country’s famous beaches. TripAdvisor has ranked White Beach at the 12th spot and El Nido, Palawan’s Nacpan Beach at 18th.

“The TripAdvisor recognition is all the more heartwarming as sun and beach have always been the country’s best tourism products,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Puyat also said the two beaches are among the first destinations the tourism department has opened up.

Based on the travel survey, travelers have new preferences when it comes to choosing holiday destinations due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The DOT noted that other key implications from the evolved travelers’ preferences, based on TripAdvisor, include outdoors and well-ventilated areas over confined spaces or facilities which re-circulate air.

Meanwhile, Puyat reminded travelers about the health and safety protocols in various tourist destinations in the country.

“And while we celebrate our beaches being named among the best in Asia, please be responsible tourists when travelling. Follow all the health and safety protocols for a safe and fun beach trip,” she said. AAC

Tourism dept. backs DILG move to streamline travel requirements

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support for the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline the travel procedures and requirements being imposed by local government units (LGU).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her department has long been advocating for the “simplification of travel requirement as this is critical in making domestic tourism work.”

Citing a survey conducted from November 28 to December 30, 2020, Puyat said that 81 percent of respondents consider the varying LGU requirements as the factor that makes travel most inconvenient.

The survey was conducted by the DOT in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

Among the common travel requirements being imposed by the LGUs are the medical certificate, other types of pre-travel or 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.

“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public’s safety and well-being,” Puyat said.

“Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols,” she added.

The DILG earlier expressed support for proposals to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification to “harmonize” regulations being implemented by LGUs.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to remove “redundancies” and impose less stringent requirements for domestic tourist travel, while managing health risks at the same time.

He, however, emphasized that the less restrictive quarantine classification would not mean abandoning health protocols but simply streamlining regulations to bring back jobs and revive the economy battered by the pandemic.

The DILG said works on streamlining regulations for domestic travel are ongoing to encourage tourism and revive the sector, as well as the country’s economy in general.

Boracay tourists charged for forging COVID test results

Marje Pelayo   •   February 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has filed charges against six Manila-based tourists who were nabbed in January 2021 for falsification of public documents after presenting fake COVID-19 swab test results in an attempt to enter Boracay Island.

Marc Judicpa of the DOT Region VI-Boracay Field and Compliance Monitoring Office (BFCMO) filed the complaint against the errant tourists.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo said such legal action should serve as warning to others and stressed that the agency will continue to be vigilant to ensure that these collaborative interventions will deter entry of such delinquent and unwanted visitors in the enforcement of existing health and safety protocols.

The DOT welcomes the directive from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to execute the arrest and prosecution of individuals who are forging their RT-PCR tests. 

The DILG reiterated that it is a crime punishable under Republic Act (RA) No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act which provides for penalties of P20,000 but not more than P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.   

Furthermore, the DOT draws emphasis to the importance of tightening the registration procedure for tourists to curb the spread of COVID-19 and other variants.

These involve, among others, validation of the submitted COVID test results and hotel bookings before a QR code is given for validation at ports of entry.   

“In anticipation of the further relaxation of regulations governing inter- and intra-regional movements, the LGUs should be prepared to address an increase in the number of applications and visits.  Enforcement is key and we must all do our share in keeping Boracay safe,” the Secretary added.   

Boracay received 11,898 visitors in January 2021 alone, with an average 300 to 400 tourists a day.   

Meanwhile, the DOT Region VI-BFCMO will continue to work closely with the local government units (LGUs) of Aklan and Malay to ensure enforcement of minimum health and safety protocols at the DOT-accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) and other tourism enterprises (TEs) and in the island, in general.

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