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Duterte visiting key PH sites to spur local tourism hounded by coronavirus scare

/ 11:57 AM February 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will visit popular tourist destinations in the Philippines as the government seeks to promote domestic tourism amid growing concern over the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

IN FULL FORCE Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat (center, in white) joins local and national officials during the official reopening of Boracay Island to tourists  in 2018. – MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

In a recent video message, Duterte urged Filipinos to travel with him around the Philippines as he assured the safety of tourists despite the COVID-19 scare.

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“To my fellow Filipinos, I encourage you to travel with me around the Philippines. I assure you that everything is safe in our country, be it an issue of health, be it an issue of law and order, and be it an issue of accessibility,” Duterte said in the video message made public Friday.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Monday, Tourism Undersecretary Art Boncato said they are currently in coordination with the Office of the President to discuss the upcoming activity.

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Boncato said popular Philippine destinations such as Boracay, Cebu, and Bohol are in the initial list of tourist spots Duterte may visit in the “next couple of weeks.”

Asked if Duterte will swim in the world-famous beach of Boracay, Boncato said: “Parang di ko masagot ‘yung tanong. It’s below my pay grade, but we will recommend.”

The DOT official likewise affirmed the commitment of local carriers, tour operators and hotels owners and operators to help promote domestic tourism by offering lower rates and engaging travel packages.

“Ang commitment po nilang lahat either gumawa ng value-added packages, meaning hindi masyadong bababa ang rates pero dadagdagang ‘yung content or magma-mark down talaga (ng prices),” Boncato said.

In a separate press briefing in Malacañang Friday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the DOT estimated P42.9 billion in foregone revenue up to April this year due to COVID-19 jitters.

GSG

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TAGS: Coronavirus, domestic tourism, DOT COVID-19, Malacañang, Rodrigo Duterte, Tourism, travel destinations
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