Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said authorities should “seriously consider” to reopen the airports in GCQ (general community quarantine) areas.
Tugade said reopening the airports would help the domestic tourism amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) earlier said it is looking at allowing domestic travel after the ECQ and GCQ to help the tourism industry in the Philippines.
“The reopening of airports in GCQ areas to commercial aviation will gradually jump-start airline operations now hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. This will plant the seeds for domestic tourism. This should seriously be considered,” Tugade said.
General Jim Sydiongco, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director, said airlines are now capable of mounting inter-island flights to and from areas under general community quarantine.
“We want to operationalize this approach before the end of next week but of course without compromising health and safety protocols set by the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) and the Department of Health. Pag-iisipan namin kung paano ito maisasagawa ng maayos at mabilis,” Tugade said.
Also read: Funeral car driver hides 3 boxes of local gin inside coffin
Reopen airports in GCQ areas for domestic travel
Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. in a televised briefing, said short distance travel, especially with family members, may be allowed once the government lifts the quarantine measures imposed.
“Mag-uumpisa ‘yan mga domestic travel, medyo mga short distances muna siguro by land lang muna. And then siguro ‘yung mga kasama mo ‘yung mga pamilya mo or at least ‘yung mga kabisado mo ang travel history,” Bengzon said.
(It would start with domestic travel, maybe for short distances and by land only. And then perhaps you could travel with your family.)
“We believe that, for the rest of the year, what will really trigger the activities would be itong domestic tourism movement.”
The Undersecretary also said tour operators and travel agencies have the option to offer travel or tour packages in advance.
DOT estimated the revenue from foreign tourist arrivals from January to March went down by 35% from the same period in 2019.
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat
meanwhile said traveling abroad after the two-month enhanced community quarantine is likely to be pushed until next year.