PH looks at 'travel bubble' once tourism resumes

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

June 10, 2020, 8:42 pm

<p>Isla de Gigantes, Iloilo <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Isla de Gigantes, Iloilo (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is looking at introducing travel corridors or the so-called "travel bubble" once restrictions have relaxed and protocols are in place.

These corridors would allow the reopening of Philippine destinations with zero coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases to foreign tourists from infection-free nations, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

"Travel bubble is something other countries has already been doing, for example, Australia and New Zealand since their Covid cases are decreasing or almost zero, they (people) can now travel between Australia and New Zealand," Romulo-Puyat told the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday.

While the Philippines is open to adopting this innovation, she said stringent measures will remain in place once the initiative pushes through.

"We will still be fixing the safety protocols because again, the main concern of tourists now--domestic and international--is whether it is safe," she said. "We will first open up the destination that is safe with virtually zero Covid cases and number two, we will check the health protocols.”

She said DOT is now in talks with its Australian partners and is pushing for direct flights from Australia to the "safe" and virtually "Covid-free locations" that may soon open in the Philippines.

"We were telling them that there's an option of them flying from Australia direct to, let's say, Bohol it's an international airport or direct to Kalibo, it's also an international airport... There are so many possibilities so we're pushing for that (travel bubble)," she said. (PNA)