Boracay Island (File photo) 

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) will provide PHP8 million for the swab testing of some 4,000 Boracay Island tourism workers.

In a statement Monday, the DOT said Boracay is expecting more local tourist arrivals in the coming months.

“By supporting RT-PCR testing among workers in Boracay, the Department reiterates that safety is the unparalleled priority in reopening domestic tourism. We want to restore confidence amongst travelers and protect their health and well-being as our tourism workers get their livelihood back,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

On October 1, Boracay reopened its borders to tourists from General Community Quarantine (GCQ) areas as approved by the Inter Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases in its Resolution No. 74.

Through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) the DOT has undertaken similar efforts to ensure safety in other tourism destinations like Baguio City.

The city also reopened to tourists the Ilocos Region provinces on October 1 through the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor Plan.

The DOT allocated a PHP1.8 million budget from the TPB’s special contingency fund to support the adoption of antigen testing among Baguio City visitors apart from the swab test.

It said the results of both testing methods among Baguio visitors “will help determine the efficacy of antigen tests as a quicker and cheaper means of detecting the Covid-19 virus”.

Through the TPB, the DOT also funded Baguio’s first ever Visitor Information and Travel Assistance visitor management system that will allow for real-time tracking and contact-tracing among tourists from Region 1.

“The remaining projects of the TPB for the year 2020 will focus on improving tourism destinations in terms of readiness with health and safety protocols, which in turn will increase confidence among local travelers,” Puyat said.

“All of these efforts by the DOT, our attached agencies, together with our partners in the public and private sector, support the President’s directive to boost the country’s domestic tourism. We are hopeful that, by reviving tourism with health and safety measures in place, the tourism industry will make it through the pandemic and be a strong catalyst for economic growth in the new normal,” she added. (PNA)