NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Local chief executives in the province are in favor of easing restrictions and health protocols at the start of the New Year in order to boost the ailing tourism industry.
According to League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) – Bohol president and Dauis Mayor Miriam Sumaylo, mayors and the members of the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force (B-IATF) medical cluster have discussed the possibility of coming up with a recommendation to lessen restrictions to bolster the restart of Bohol tourism, during a meeting held last week at Modala Resort in Panglao.
Sumaylo said majority of the mayors expressed dismay over the continued implementation of strict protocols, particularly the lengthy quarantine period which dissuade tourists from traveling to Bohol.
The mayors’ league president said loosening restrictions would revive the tourism industry of Bohol and help displaced tourism workers regain their jobs.
On December 15, Bohol opened its doors to individual tourists, including those from areas that are still under general community quarantine (GCQ).
The reopening for general tourists came weeks after the province started allowing groups to hold their meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions (MICE) events in Panglao Island.
Part of easing restrictions on those who want to travel to Bohol, the provincial government has allowed even senior citizens and minors to visit the province.
Tourism comprises 70 percent of the livelihood of Boholanos.
For one who wants to travel to Bohol under existing guidelines issued by the provincial government, everything must be pre-booked, including hotels, transportation and tours.
The so-called do-it-yourself tours will not be allowed as all guests coming to the province will have to go through tour establishments and operators that are accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
A tourist must first register with the official website of the provincial government of Bohol – www.bohol.gov.ph – where an “acceptance” will be granted for the tourist to enter the island. The prospective tourist will then be given a unique QR code to be used while touring Bohol.
Upon entry, visitors must submit a negative RT-PCR result that must have been taken not more than 72-hours before departure from other provinces.
In order to attract tourists, many establishments here have slashed their rates to about 50-percent.