The Department of Tourism said Wednesday that it was gauging which local tourist destinations could reopen to visitors even as the threat of COVID-19 remains.
Authorities are eyeing the gradual resumption of tourism services as the country eases into the new normal, DOT Usec. Benito Bengzon Jr. told Unang Hirit. Boracay could reopen by Oct. 1, following Baguio and Tagaytay, officials earlier said.
"Tinitingnan pa po natin 'yung ibang destinations na maaaring magbukas kasi kailangan preparado, handa ang ating destinations bago magbukas (We're still looking at the other destinations that can open because they must be prepared before they reopen)," Bengzon said.
He mentioned the gradual reopening of Boracay to Aklan residents last June, which eventually expanded to cover visitors from Western Visayas. The popular beach destination could reopen to tourists starting Oct. 1, according to multiple reports.
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Tourist destinations under modified general community quarantine may reopen and resume operations provided that they comply with the guidelines set by the DOT to prevent COVID-19 transmissions, he said.
Before tourism can resume, establishments and tour coordinators must first have the approval of their respective local government units.
The Visitor Information and Travel Assistance, a DOT-developed app, was created to check the compliance of tourism destinations to health protocols and monitor the movements of tourists, Bengzon said.
"The good thing about it, disiplinado 'yung mga turista natin (our tourists are disciplined). I think , this is a good start," he said.