The Department of Tourism on Wednesday said it would resume subsidizing 50% of the RT-PCR testing price for domestic tourists following the return of leisure travel to and from Metro Manila and select areas.
Tourists of all ages in the NCR Bubble—Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna Cavite, and Rizal —and areas under Modified General Community Quarantine or MGCQ were permitted to travel again to boost local tourism. Travelers below 18 and above 65 years old should have a negative COVID-19 test result.
"The Philippine tourism industry has been adversely affected by the pandemic. The subsidy aims to encourage domestic travel by aiding the tourists in fulfilling the RT-PCR test requirement, and to enable them to visit their destination of choice at a lesser cost,” said DOT Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
“We at the DOT are doing whatever we can to help the industry and its stakeholders recoup their losses and ensure security and sustainability amid this pandemic," she said.
The subsidy program will cost P35.17 million for the whole year. To qualify for the subsidy, travelers must meet the basic requirements of having confirmed round trip transportation tickets and a booking confirmation with a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment.
Qualified tourists can avail of discounted RT-PCR tests at partner hospitals University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Manila and the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City.
The current agreement with the DOT Tourism Promotions Board runs from January to June 2021, with the UP-PGH and PCMC receiving Php 9.99 million and Php 8.70 million, respectively, benefiting 22,711 domestic travellers.
The TPB is set to ink a new Memorandum of Agreement with the PCMC to extend subsidy from July 1 to Dec. 31 this year, to benefit 13,333 local tourists.
Interested tourists may apply online.