Tourist hotspots in the Philippines once again took the international spotlight as it bagged four major recognitions in the 27th World Travel Awards, Asia Category, the Manila Bulletin reported.
The country secured the title Asia’s Leading Beach Destination and Asia’s Leading Dive Destination. This is the fourth time the Philippines won the former, second time on the latter.
Meanwhile, Intramuros emerged as Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction, as the Department of Tourism (DOT) earned the award Asia’s Leading Tourist Board. This is the second time the agency earned the recognition.
Both the Philippines and the DOT have remaining nominations under the world category. These include World’s Leading Beach Destination, World’s Leading Dive Destination, World’s Leading Island Destination (Siargao), World’s Leading Tourist Attraction (Intramuros), and World’s Leading Tourist Board (DOT).
Recognition Amid the Crisis
Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat expressed delight over the awards, saying that they are an “inspiration to the industry” at the time when the country is gradually reopening tourist destinations.
She acknowledged the initiatives of the public to promote the country’s destinations, products, and culture, owing the recognition to tourism stakeholders, local government units, partner agencies, and fellow Filipinos.
In an interview with Breaking Travel News, Romulo-Puyat said that the awards can help in generating interest and promoting trust and confidence among tourists all around the world. She underscored their efforts to put health and safety at the center of the tourism industry recovery.
Reboot in Tourism Activities
Several hotspots in the country have resumed tourism operations in the last months after the long period of strict lockdown. Last September, the DOT launched the Ridge to Reef Corridor Plan, a travel bubble among Northern Luzon provinces, Baguio, La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte (BLUPISIN), as mentioned in another report from Manila Bulletin.
The first phase of the initiative involved the reopening of inter-regional travel corridor, allowing tourist exchanges among member-provinces. The second phase was the expanded travel corridor, welcoming tourists coming from the rest of Luzon. Meanwhile, the third phase is the subnational travel corridor, further easing travel restrictions for the rest of the country.
Islands in the Philippines have likewise resumed operations. Boracay opened last June with a few restrictions, only welcoming tourists coming from all regions in October.
Palawan hotspots started to accept guests last July, also forming a travel bubble. El Nido resorts, including Pangulasian Island Resort & Spa, Lagen Island Resort, and Miniloc Island Resort, have been receiving visitors from Metro Manila under the domestic corridor initiative, as mentioned in this Philippine News Agency (PNA) report.
In Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro City has reopened certain sites, such as the famous Divine Mercy Shrine, to jumpstart tourism, according to Inquirer.
Camiguin and Zamboanga City will be easing travel restrictions soon. The former has recently come up with a “pandemic response playbook” to promote sustainable and responsible tourism once they welcome visitors again, Davao Today reported. The latter, on the other hand, will be reopening Sta. Cruz and 11 more islands, as mentioned by Manila Bulletin.
New Normal in Travels
With the gradual reopening of borders, destinations have embraced the new normal in tourism, not only in the aspect of observing health protocols. Tourism hotspots are using digital platforms to obtain tourist information and promote safety further.
In Baguio, they use VISITA (Visitor Information and Travel Assistance), a website that requires guests to submit health declaration forms, schedule visits, and pick destinations. Ilocos Norte promotes the Stay In app, which gathers information necessary for observing public health standards and efficient contact tracing.
Bohol, meanwhile, has provided a QR code on their official website, directing guests to a form that collects tourist data, including the length of stay, accommodation establishment, and names of accompanying travelers.
The DOT and Tourism Promotions Board (TBP), for their part, recently introduced the Travel Philippines app, which features the latest information about different destinations in the country. It also allows users to create itineraries and keep digital copies of important travel documents, as reported by ABS-CBN News.
In its launch, six local hotspots are on the platform: Palawan, Boracay, Bohol, Baguio, Ilocos Norte, and Metro Manila. Users may also see DOT-accredited accommodations and restaurants.
According to officials, the channel will undergo more updates as different parts of the country ease travel restrictions. They reassured the traveling public that data keyed in the app is secure.
The project amounted to P20 million.
Article and Photo originally posted by Lamudi last November 16, 2020.