PTAA eyes reciprocity to boost travel industry
Still overcoming the challenges brought by the global pandemic, the tourism industry continues to adapt and foster more ways to promote travel again, this time on the international scale. Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) President Michelle Taylan says, “We believe that we are actually on the road to recovery. We laud, fully support, and completely adhere to all the significant efforts being planned and implemented by the government to help hospitality-related businesses bounce back in order to boost the economy again.”
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat recently announced that upon the DOT’s request, the Inter-Agency Task Force has approved in principle the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from green list countries. A special technical working group on travel is now drafting guidelines for final approval. “Our neighbors like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia also did the same. We believe that it is also time for us to reopen our borders for inbound tourism as a way towards full recovery,” highlights Puyat.
IATF has also authorized an update on the quarantine policy for returning overseas Filipinos, including overseas Filipino workers and balikbayans from yellow countries. Fully vaccinated travelers with negative RT-PCR result taken in the last 72 hours can now expect a shortened hotel quarantine period, from five days to just three days. Puyat further explains that those without pre-departure testing are still subject to a facility-based quarantine until the release of the RT-PCR test results taken on the fifth day. With a negative result, the individual would be released for home quarantine until the 10th day. Unvaccinated visitors, however, still have to undergo facility-based quarantine with testing on the seventh day, to be followed by home quarantine up to 14th day upon the release of a negative test result.
In line with this, the PTAA remains supportive of obtaining reciprocity for countries that have been classified as yellow that allow outbound travel for Filipinos such as, but not limited to, nations of France, Turkey, and United States of America. Seeing that these nations now accept tourists coming from the Philippines, it would be beneficial to both sides if the Philippines likewise accommodates tourists from such countries. Safety protocols and travel guidelines, based on the evaluation and endorsement of the Department of Health and the IATF, must still be strictly observed.
In a meeting with Taylan, Taiwan Ambassador Peiyung Hsu expressed great interest in reopening their borders and easing up of quarantine guidelines for Filipino travelers.
“We are delighted to share that travel agencies are now seeing an increase in bookings and inquiries for travel and documentation, indicative of the market’s inclination to travel again, especially after the latest Travel Tour Expo that took place last November 5 to 7. If we can expedite more agreements and cooperation with other countries, especially our neighboring nations, we believe that this will drastically help in our country’s economic resurgence,” Taylan closes.
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