Aklan improves entry system for Boracay-bound tourists
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — The Aklan provincial government has improved the processing system for tourists bound for Boracay Island amid complaints about the delay in the processing of quick response (QR) codes with increasing tourist arrivals.
Selwyn Ibarreta, Aklan provincial administrator and head of the provincial COVID-19 Technical Working Group, said the team tasked with validating travel documents had been reinforced, with 19 personnel manning each eight-hour shift daily.
He said personnel validating submissions of tourists were overwhelmed last week by the volume of applications due to absences and resignations of several workers.
Tourist arrivals from Nov. 1 to Nov. 21 reached 40,434, more than the 35,108 logged in July, the highest during the pandemic.
Many tourists, however, complained of missed flights due to the delay in the processing of requirements and the release of QR codes issued by the provincial government. Others said they only received their QR code, a preboarding requirement, a few hours before their flight.
Ibarreta said the validation of documents submitted, including vaccination certificates or negative swab test results (for those not fully vaccinated), have also been streamlined.
QR codes will be released to tourists while their documents are still being validated.
Only applications for QR codes submitted seven days before the scheduled trip of visitors and not earlier will be accommodated and processed.
“We receive from 2,000 to 6,000 emailed applications daily so we need to schedule the processing so we can process and release QR codes for trips within a week,” Ibarreta told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Boracay has proposed that an automated system for the release of QR codes be implemented to simplify and fast-track the system.
But Ibarreta said they could not implement the system used by other tourist destinations where access to tourists is granted by resorts and hotels and not by the local government.
“We need to regulate the number of tourists coming in because Boracay has a defined carrying capacity,” he said.
—NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.
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