NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The province has relaxed its health protocol for arriving tourists in a bid for more arrivals amidst a suffering tourists-driven economy.
Executive Order No. 2021-08 issued by Gov. Art Yap now allows tourists not to undergo PCR test even if he goes beyond five days as long as he will not get outside the lane of the “tourism bubble.”
This means, a tourist can now stay longer as he wants with no PCR testing here on condition that he will not go to other areas, not designated as part of the “bubble.”
If a tourist wishes to go to other areas outside the bubble on the 6th day , then this is the time he will be required to get a PCR test, aside from the required negative PCR result he brings from his point of origin.
For locals attending MICE and events, they can according to the new EO provided that the event is held at an open-air venue and that participants must self quarantine for at least 5 days after the event.
In the event that the local participants exhibit COVID symptoms while on self-quarantine, or when one of the event-participants is found to be COVID positive, they would be required to take the COVID test.
The same EO has also included DOT accredited sites and accommodation establishments or with the UBE seal in Anda, which are now part of the Tourist Bubble.
Meanwhile, Boholanos who would want to go to tourism sites and destinations need not present a tour voucher organized by a tour agent accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
According to Executive Order No. 7 series of 2021, which Governor Yap signed January 27, said Boholano tourists only have to present their local Quick Reaction (QR) Codes upon entry and exit from all tourist sites within Bohol.
The QR Codes, also understood as the Bohol Card is the Boholano equivalent of the tourists “Tour Voucher” which tourists from outside the province can get as soon as they pre-register, pre book their stay at accommodation establishments with DOT permit to operate and pre-arrange their tour itinerary to sites and destinations granted with the Provincial Government’s Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) Seal.
Earlier, Gov. Yap issued Executive Order No. 53 series of 2020, which laid out the guidelines in the Implementation of the Bohol Tourist Bubble.
The Bohol Tourist Bubble Executive Order marked the era when Bohol re-opened its doors to outsiders after it closed its portals March 16, in efforts to stop the Coronavirus (COVID) from getting to Bohol.
EO 53 allowed tourists to come to Bohol but only for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) as well as for events like birthdays, anniversaries, and similar celebrations with at least 6 attendees.
However, these people have to pre-register online through the Bohol tourist registration portal and that their events be coordinated by the Bohol Tourism Office.
When registering, these tourists get their own version of the Bohol Card with the QR Code that facilitates a more efficient computer-based contact tracing system.
Upon registering, tourists must also be able to show proof that they do not have COVID through a negative COVID test via the Reverse transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Test.
That means tourists who come in should be able to show, not just a negative for COVID proof, but also a confirmed hotel booking in a DOT permitted hotel with Bohol UBE seal, and a pre-booked tour itinerary as arranged by a DOT-accredited tour and travel operator.
The arriving tourists would only travel when picked by a designated and DOT accredited driver and tour guide, from the airport to their hotel accommodations and to their tours, without straying from their tour itinerary.