MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has lauded the lifting of the travel ban on outbound passengers, except Filipino tourists, in line with the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

"The Department of Tourism welcomed the decision of the (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) (IATF-EID) to lift the 72-hour window for individuals departing overseas. DOT coordinated with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment to provide the joint guidelines for the lifting of the ban," the department said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Upon the updated guidelines, overseas Filipino workers, balikbayans, and foreign nationals will be allowed to leave at any time during the quarantine in Luzon, provided they travel only to the airport within 24 hours of the date and time of their departure.

Outgoing passengers are advised to provide documents of their departure, such as an electronic ticket or flight itinerary.

"Filipino citizens are strictly not allowed to take an outbound international flight to countries where travel restrictions are in place," the DOT said.

On transportation arrangements, outbound passengers may be accompanied by only one companion or driver to and from the airport.

Their companion is advised to carry a copy of the passenger’s e-ticket or itinerary.

Assistance to tourists 

For tourists requiring assistance, a Tourism Airport Team is stationed at airports to provide them 24-hour service, including assistance in arranging flights, securing bookings, transportation, meals, and accommodation.

The DOT is in close collaboration with the local government unit (LGU) officers, local airport staff, and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

In the past few days, DOT regional offices have been proactive in informing tourism stakeholders, such as hotels, island resorts, tour operators, and LGUs to communicate the intensified travel restrictions of the enhanced community quarantine to foreign tourists in each destination, especially those in remote islands.

"The DOT is committed to working with all stakeholders, especially the LGUs and the IATF, in ensuring that the safety and the needs of our domestic and international tourists are addressed and resolved," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Hotels, except for those accommodating employees and front-liners exempted in the community quarantine, are not allowed to accept new bookings. (PNA)