Region 8 opens doors to domestic tourists amid pandemic

Region 8 opens doors to domestic tourists amid pandemic

TACLOBAN CITY – Local government officials in key areas of Eastern Visayas said tourists are welcome to visit the region as long as they will strictly adhere to health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said the region offers a lot of experience for people bored of year-long movement restrictions.

“You can visit our region. We are not that strict but you have to follow the health protocols like wearing of face masks, and face shields if you are in close proximity with others when in public places,” Romualdez said in an interview Monday.

“If you will follow those protocols, then you can enjoy all the beautiful sights that our region offers. Most of these are open spaces,” he added.

Travelers who want to visit Tacloban, the regional capital, only need to present their vaccination card instead of a negative swab test result if they are fully vaccinated.

Additional requirements include an acceptance letter and Tacloban quick response (QR) code.

Those who are not vaccinated must present a negative swab test result along with other important documents, such as a valid identification card.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla said in a separate interview that although tourism is one of the industries most affected by the pandemic, the local tourism industry is thriving and showing resilience in the region.

“Tourism in Region 8 is not totally down. In fact, we can still see resiliency. For tourists who want to come, they are very much welcome,” Petilla told reporters.

Leyte province has relaxed some of its protocols to allow tourism-related facilities like hotels and restaurants to resume their operation.

“We try to lessen the protocols, and look for new ways to lessen the spread and to prevent hospitalization and death of those who would get infected with Covid-19,” he added.

The Department of Tourism reported that among the areas that are open to tourists from other regions in the country are the cities of Tacloban in Leyte, Maasin in Southern Leyte, and Catbalogan in Samar, as well as the provinces of Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar.

The provinces of Biliran and Leyte, and cities of Baybay in Leyte, Borongan in Eastern, and Calbayog in Samar are open to local tourists.

Prior to reopening the tourism sites, the DOT regional office has prepared stakeholders for the responsible tourism restart through tutorials using digital platforms, the conduct of training in digital marketing, business continuity webinars, and emotional wellness sessions. (PNA)

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