Bohol to accept visitors starting December 15
Manila, Philippines — In a media conference held on December 8, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Bohol Governor Arthur Yap officially announced that Bohol will accept more visitors from areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) starting December 15.
This pandemic has transformed the way we travel – from social distancing measures, an extensive range of protocols, contact tracing, rapid/swab testing, 24-48 hours of quarantine before and after visiting one place to another. It has presented an unprecedented challenge to the travel industry and caused some airlines to stop operating.
Because of the unpredictability of this COVID-19, most countries have adopted some measures and restrictions in traveling during these uncertain times and started to adapt to the new normal.
Starting December 15, Bohol will now fully re-open and accept leisure and MICE Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, and Exhibitions (MICE) business travelers to help support the tourism industry, and this is spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) the Philippines.
According to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, Bohol will be accepting visitors from areas especially under General Community Quarantine only. Minors and senior citizens are also allowed entry to the island starting December 15th.
“Despite that, we have been having a rollercoaster ride of Covid-19 cases, we have decided to stay the course that instead of having a policy of half opening or half closing, we are going to start moving towards a policy of continuously slowing opening the economy and preparing our citizens more than anything else, to welcome visitors back in Bohol, and to protect them along the way as we do so,” Yap said.
Since 78% of Bohol’s economy relies on tourism services, thousands of people and employees working in the hospitality industry and heavily affected due to the pandemic cannot further delay the province’s reopening.
In September, Bohol hosted the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX), and it highlighted the preparedness of the Island of Panglao to host MICE events, especially with its adherence to the health safety guidelines authorized by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
Despite the expected influx of leisure visitors on December 15, Bohol ensures to provide the best domestic tourism experience while safeguarding everyone on their visit.
TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones shares that they see Bohol as the first local havens to cater to MICE business in these uncertain times. To support their goals in generating future businesses for the province, Allones spearheaded a familiarization trip to Bohol for stakeholders to identify suitable for MICE clients and leisure visitors. The tour was also a great platform for a healthy collaboration between the DOT, TPB, Bohol LGU, Manila-based industry players, MICE organizers, and the National Task Force on Recovery to establish opportunities in tourism recovery efforts of the province and restore the jobs of its tourism workers.
While most travelers are confined within their homes for months now, many are sure to book Bohol and visit their famous tourist sites, which were examined during the familiarization tour.
Among the sites examined were the BE Grand Resort, Bohol Beach Club, Modala Resort, Hennan Resort, Bluewater Panglao Beach Resort, South Palms, Mithi Resort & Spa, Bee Farm, and Amorita, plus world-famous sites like Chocolate Hills, Corella Tarsier Sanctuary, Tarsier Conservation Area, man-made forest of Bilar and Loboc, Loboc River Restaurant, Sta. Monica Church in Alburquerque Town, and the One Town, One Product (OTOP) hub in Baclayon.
How to Visit Bohol as a Tourist under the New Normal
- Those who plan to visit Bohol on December 15 should present a negative RT-PCR test of not beyond 72 hours before their departure and strictly follow the general safety health protocols issued by the IATF throughout their island exploration.
- DIYs are not allowed. All travels must also be pre-booked and limited to sites with the Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) Seal issued by the Bohol LGU and through DOT-accredited travel and tour operators only.
- Download and Install the Bohol Tourist App, register, and upload documents for the issuance of a personal QR Code that will serve as their electronic visitor’s ID and contract tracing purposes.
Secretary Puyat said that they’re hoping for a successful recovery for the tourism industry through small steps and collective effort despite the uncertainties we face today.
TPB is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism that is mandated to market and promotes the Philippines domestically and internationally as a world-class tourism and MICE destination by establishing strategic partnerships with different private and public stakeholders. This collaboration will deliver a unique high-value experience for visitors, significantly contributing to increased arrivals, receipts, and investments to the country.