Boracay, 11 hotels get int’l recognition, but no timeline to allow foreign tourists
ILOILO CITY—Boracay and 11 hotels on the island have been awarded the first international safety and hygiene stamp for travelers but there is still no definite time frame in allowing foreign tourists to come in.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced in a press conference Wednesday that the island and establishments received the Safe Travels Stamp of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
The stamp, developed last year, is aimed at restoring confidence among tourists and reviving tourist destinations battered by the pandemic.
The stamp enables tourists to identify destinations around the world that have “adopted health and hygiene global standardized protocols,” according to a Department of Tourism statement.
The 11 hotels in Boracay that received the stamp are the Le Soleil de Boracay, Discovery Shores Boracay, Shangri-la’s Boracay Resort, Hue Boracay, Wald’s Place, Amable Suites, Lime Hotel, The Lind Boracay, Movenpick Resort & Spa Boracay, Villa Caemilla Beach Boutique Hotel, and Belmont Hotel Boracay.
Puyat said a key factor in allowing foreign tourists back to destinations in the country is to vaccinate tourism workers and residents of the destinations.
“Understandably, among the top priorities for tourists traveling during this period are their health and safety. One of the ways we can ensure this is by getting our front-liners vaccinated as soon as possible, to give an extra layer of protection between them and our tourists,” she said.
The DOT is looking at Phuket, Thailand as the model for allowing fully vaccinated travelers to destinations.
Under its “Sandbox” project, fully vaccinated tourists from low and medium-risk countries will be allowed to visit Phuket without quarantine requirements but must stay for at least 14 days on the island before being allowed to visit other destinations in Thailand.
Puyat said Phuket could do this because about 70 percent of the populace is already vaccinated.
Business operators have been appealing for travel bubbles, where tourists from low and moderate-risk countries could travel to Boracay directly.
“The only way right now you could do a travel bubble is if the majority of people in the destinations are vaccinated,” Puyat said.
She said there was still no timeline because this would depend on the supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
The DOT and local governments of Aklan and Malay town are targeting the inoculation of at least 17,000 tourism workers and 23,000 residents of Boracay.
The vaccination rate on the island is at 4.5 percent and is expected to increase to 12 percent with the arrival of 3,000 vaccine doses for tourism workers.
Puyat said the management of Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay donated 5,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines for the inoculation drive on the island.
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