Guimaras to welcome back fully vaccinated visitors
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — Guimaras Island will reopen its tourism industry to travelers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Nov. 16, more than 20 months since leisure travel to the province was limited or prohibited.
Tourists who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to travel to the island by submitting government-issued vaccination cards or certificates to the province’s screening team stationed in Iloilo City, Gov. Samuel Gumarin said in an order dated Nov. 12.
Resorts and tourist destinations will also inspect the vaccination certificates or cards of incoming travelers.
Considered as fully vaccinated are those who have received their second dose (for two-dose vaccines) or were immunized with a single-dose vaccine 14 days or more before traveling to the island.
Gumarin, in a news release posted on the provincial government’s Facebook page, said they were hopeful that the resumption of leisure travel would usher the recovery of the island’s economy.
Guimaras is known for its sweet mangoes, pristine beaches and inland resorts. Tourism is one of its main economic drivers, which was severely hit by the travel restrictions and community quarantines imposed since the pandemic struck in March 2020.
COVID-19 cases have significantly dropped in the province, the smallest in the Western Visayas region.
Only one new COVID-19 case was reported on Nov. 12, bringing to 14 the total active cases in the province. It’s COVID-19 cases since March 2020 reached 3,149 with 2,977 recoveries and 158 deaths.
Guimaras is among the 16 provinces that are allowing fully vaccinated tourists to submit vaccination cards in lieu of negative COVID-19 swab test results, according to the Department of Tourism.
The others are Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Camiguin, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Masbate, Camarines Norte, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Southern Leyte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay and Misamis Oriental.
Boracay Island, which is part of Malay town in Aklan province, also scrapped the swab test requirement for fully vaccinated tourists. “With the lifting of the testing requirements for fully vaccinated visitors to these destinations, travel has become more affordable and accessible for domestic tourists, especially with the coming holiday season,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said.
—NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.
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