The famous San Vicente Long Beach | File photo

By Aira Genesa Magdayao and Alex Baaco

San Vicente town has eased travel requirements for tourists, with the local government approving a new set of guidelines for travelers last March 11.

Tourism officer Lucy Panagsagan told Palawan News on Saturday, March 19, that their town is steadily recovering two years after the COVID-19 outbreak and the damage caused by super typhoon Odette.

She said that the majority of the tourist boats are undergoing repairs, while some are obtaining Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) business permits and operating permits.

“As to readiness, we are trying to cope, especially for the operation of TREs. We are recovering slowly,” Panagsagan said.

Under the new guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals will only be required to present vaccination cards or vaccination certificates, approved S-Pass, and valid identification cards.

Individuals who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must submit negative RT-PCR test results obtained within 72 hours prior to travel, as well as an approved S-Pass and valid identification cards.

Children under the age of 10 will not be obliged to take an antigen test if they are accompanied by a family member.

Panagsagan also stated that the majority of accommodations have already been approved by the Department of Tourism (DOT), while some are awaiting Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) approval.

“Magluluwag ng kaunti ang LGU at TIEZA sa mga requirements so we are anticipating na makakabawi ang tourism industry,” she said.

She added that clearing operations in ecotourism sites are also ongoing in preparation for the return of tourists.

They are also planning to put up new tourism-related signages after majority of these were destroyed by typhoon Odette.

“Ongoing din yung clearing natin sa mga ecotourism sites like Pamuayan and Bigaho Falls para ready na sila uli mag accept ng tourists,” she said.

“For those who would like to spend weekends in SanVic, to experience sightseeing, swimming, snorkeling, fun and adventure, they are welcome, just be reminded to be always a responsible traveler.

Sunlight Air has scheduled trips to San Vicente for March 24-28 and April 14-24, 2022, according to her.

Tonino Habana, president of the United Tourism Enterprises Association of San Vicente, said he encourages visitors to explore the town and participate in various activities such as swimming, surfing, hiking, and sampling local delicacies.

He said that they are now ready to accommodate tourists following the damage caused by Odette.

“The most important infrastructure has been restored – power and water. It’s sad to see that a lot of tourist boats and accommodations suffered from damages but most of the accommodations have been repaired and are operating now,” Habana said.

Habana also appealed to remove the requirement for S-Pass with the easing of travel guidelines.

“I understand that they have eased the entry requirements of tourists. No more antigen or testing requirements for fully vaccinated persons. They need to remove the S-Pass requirement also because it’s confusing and does not serve its purpose anymore,” he added.

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