PH attracts more tourists despite Boracay closure

Marje Pelayo   •   August 8, 2018   •   3573

Mayon Volcano. PVI/Chinky Go

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) shared on Wednesday (August 8) the data of increased tourist arrivals to the Philippines from January to April 2018.

The agency is pleased to report that despite the closure of the Boracay Island, the country has achieved a staggering 11.35% increase in the number of visitors from 2,349,980 in 2017 to 2,640,231 in the first four months of 2018.

“We were pleasantly surprised that it increased by 11.35% this June,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

Most of the visitors were Chinese and Korean nationals.

Meanwhile, the DOT has ordered the Interagency Task Force on Boracay Rehabilitation to issue a memorandum for the reopening of Boracay Island on October 26.

The government expects further increase in the number of visitors once the island is opened. – Grace Casin / Marje Pelayo

Burnham Green, Quirino Grandstand soon to host temporary mobile hospital, drive-thru vax site

Marje Pelayo   •   April 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Wednesday (April 14) that a temporary mobile hospital and a drive-thru vaccination site will soon rise at the Rizal Park in Manila.

Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat confirmed the plan in response to the proposal of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso to establish a temporary mobile hospital at the Burnham Green of Rizal Park.

The proposal was agreed by the Board of Directors of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), an attached agency of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Domagoso made such a request for a temporary mobile hospital in Rizal Park “in anticipation of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases” in the city.

The city mayor committed to design, construct, maintain, and manage the hospital “up to its logical conclusion,” at no cost to the national government.

Domagoso also promised to restore the Burnham Green area where the hospital will be constructed, back to its original condition.

Likewise, the Board also approved the construction of a temporary drive-thru vaccination site at the Independence Road (Parade Grounds) of the Quirino Grandstand, also under the management of the NPDC.

The temporary drive-thru vaccination site will be located beside the drive-thru RT-PCR testing facility managed by the City of Manila together with NPDC.

Secretary Puyat said that the mobile hospital will be open to everyone and will cater to patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile, the temporary drive-thru vaccination site to be built at the Parade Grounds of Quirino Grandstand is expected to accommodate 350 to 400 individuals for vaccination per day.

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.

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

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2021

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.)

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