“International travel might not happen this year. At this point in time, traveling (abroad) is but a dream,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during a virtual hearing of the House committee on tourism on Tuesday.
Puyat, however, did not specify whether such a policy would cover domestic travel as she presented plans for a “new normal” in the tourism industry.
Filipinos will have to live under the “new normal” until an anti-COVID-19 vaccine is discovered.
DOT reveals “new normal” for the tourism industry
- Mandatory regular disinfection or sanitation of hotels and accommodation facilities, tourism transport services, and tourism-related establishments such as meeting and exhibit venues, restaurants, and spas.
- Regular inspection of tourism establishments
- Employers to provide sanitation and disinfecting devices, including personal protective equipment to tourism workers.
- Development of online systems that can facilitate tourism-related transactions digitally, such as applications for accreditation, training, and modules, and retail.
- Hotels are urged to establish arrangements for contactless check-in, where guests can simply get their keycards and proceed straight to their rooms.
- There might be no breakfast buffets that require guests to use the same serving spoons to get food.
- Hotels to provide bento boxes, expand their kitchens, and arrange better spacing of tables to facilitate proper social distancing.
- Limited capacity of tourism transportation, restaurants, and tourist spots such as parks, museums, and meeting/convention facilities.
Puyat also said the DOT imposed the Tourism Response and Recovery Program during the outbreak to aid the tourism-related businesses and their employees to recover.
DOT earlier imposed a moratorium on accreditation payment for new and renewing applicants from tourism-related enterprises (TREs) and tourism enterprises (TEs) for the rest of the year 2020.
DOT and Tourism Promotions Board also waived participation fees in international fairs and exhibitions scheduled between now until the end of 2021.
DOT will also get at least 43 billion under the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act of 2020 to assist the affected tourism businesses.