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Davao region reopens tourism facilities after quarantine rules relaxed

Dahican beach in Mati City, Davao Oriental province

HANGING LOOSE A surfer relaxes before hitting the waves at Dahican beach in Mati City, Davao Oriental province. Dahican, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is a favorite destination of surfers and skimboarders in the Davao region. —KARLOS MANLUPIG

DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Some tourist destinations in Davao region have reopened, though on a limited basis as travel is still very minimal and rules are stringent.

This has brought hope to some 88,000 workers employed in the local tourism industry, most of whom lost their jobs or were temporarily out of work and were living on government assistance, said Tanya Rabat-Tan, the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director.

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The reopened tourist establishments would only cater to local tourists as travelers from outside Davao had yet to be allowed to enter the region, Tan said. Among the provinces that have resumed hosting tourists are Davao Oriental and Davao de Oro.

Except for Davao City, the entire Davao region is under a modified general community quarantine.

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What is the important thing right now, Tan said, was to ensure that the “carrying capacity, site management and visitor management [are observed].”

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She said the department was looking at promoting farm tourism, in which tourists would experience life on the farm.

The DOT regional office will embark on a social media marketing campaign to educate both tourists and business owners on how to adapt as behavior and the manner of delivering services will change amid the health crisis. It has started training establishments on how to do digital marketing, considering that cyberspace had become the biggest platform for business promotions.

About 300 establishments in Davao Oriental have resumed operations since Friday, said Miguel Trocio, provincial tourism officer.

In accordance with health guidelines, they are required to cater to guests and customers up to 50 percent of their regular capacity to ensure physical distancing, aside from requiring guests to wear face masks.

Guests also have to fill out forms on travel history and health status.

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Establishments must conduct temperature screening and disinfection, set up sanitizing footbaths, and provide floor markers and hand sanitizers.

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They should also identify isolation rooms “in case there are guests who develop symptoms.”

“It (isolation room) will serve as a containment area while the authorities are being coordinated for appropriate action,” said provincial health officer Reden Bersaldo.

In Davao de Oro, provincial tourism officer Christine Dumpor said the local government was trying to help small establishments access loans so they could sustain operations.

Tourism operations in the Island Garden City of Samal will resume on July 1, said Mayor Al David Uy.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Davao Region tourism, Quarantine
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