Overseas travelers free to go

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) yesterday welcomed the lifting of the 72-hour window for individuals departing overseas.

This decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) was made to be able foreign nationals, balikbayans and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to leave for their destinations. 

"All persons (foreign nationals, OFWs, balikbayans), regardless of nationality, except for Filipino tourists, may now fly out of the country at any time provided they travel only to the airport within 24 hours of the date and time of their departure," the DOT said.

The DOT said outgoing passengers must provide documents of their departure, such as an electronic ticket or flight itinerary.

Outbound passengers may be accompanied only by one companion to and from the airport, who shall likewise carry a copy of such e-ticket or itinerary. 

The foregoing is subject to joint guidelines to be issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the DOT.

Select Hotels To Remain Open

Hotels and similar establishments shall remain closed under the guidelines of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, except for the following: 

1.those with foreign guests that have existing booking accommodations as of March 17, 2020;

2. those with checked-in guests on long-term leases; 

3.those accommodating employees from exempted establishments under the provisions of the March 16, 2020 Memorandum from the Executive secretary.

Hotels and similar establishments except for those classified in no. 3 above are not allowed to accept new bookings.

Assistance to All Tourists

The DOT has created a Tourism Airport Team to provide 24-hour service to stranded tourists at airport including assistance in arranging flights, transportation, meals and accommodation. DOT is in close collaboration with local government unit (LGU) officers, local airport staff and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for this effort.

The Regional Offices of DOT have been proactive in informing tourism stakeholders such as hotels, island resorts, tour operators and local government units to communicate the intensified travel restrictions of the Enhanced Community Quarantine to foreign tourists in each destination, especially those in remote islands.

"The DOT is committed to working with all stakeholders, especially the LGUs and the inter-agency task force (IATF), in ensuring that the safety and the needs of our domestic and international tourists are addressed and resolved," stated Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.