Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat is flying to Palawan next week to discuss with the local government protocols for its eventual reopening for tourists.
“Next week, pupunta po ako sa Palawan. Under MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) na sila. Kakausapin natin si Governor (Jose) Alvarez at pag-uusapan natin ang protocols,” Puyat said in the televised Laging Handa briefing.
Travel for leisure and tourism activities at half-capacity are now allowed in places under MGCQ subject to restrictions imposed by the local government unit.
In their initial talks on Thursday night, Puyat said Alvarez wants to open Palawan’s doors to local travelers first.
Boracay was the first Philippine destination to reopen to tourists months after mobility restrictions were imposed across the country.
Aside from Palawan and Boracay, the DOT is also in talks with other provinces for the eventual revival of their tourism industry. Among these are Baguio City and Bohol.
While the industry is among the hardest hit by the pandemic, Romulo-Puyat remains optimistic that the sector would recover and restore jobs lost by millions of Filipinos dependent on the industry.
According to a Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report, there had been an increase in tourism jobs of some 350,000, from 5.36 million to 5.71 million jobs in 2019.
“I have high hopes that the significant share of employment the tourism industry provides, as consistently indicated by the PSA’s annual reports, will help spur our sector’s recovery from the impact of this pandemic,” she said. (PNA)