DOT chief says no COVID outbreak due to reopened tourism

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 28) — Tourism Chief Berna Romulo-Puyat said Monday the reopening of several Philippine destinations to travellers did not cause any coronavirus outbreak.

"We are happy to note na walang (that there's no) outbreak because of tourism," she said in a virtual briefing.

This, as the department further entices local executives to support tourism recovery as one way to jumpstart the Philippine economy.

Puyat said that while they respect the decision of some local governments to not welcome travelers yet, the DOT continues discussion with them on the safe reopening of tourist spots.

The DOT chief also noted all tourism workers are willing to receive COVID-19 vaccines, while more than 100 establishments have secured safe travel stamps.

The department also moved to extend its RT-PCR test subsidy for local travelers, allowing more qualified tourists to avail of 50% discount on swab tests when they travel to domestic destinations.

Earlier this month, the DOT said leisure travel to and from "NCR Plus" to areas under modified general community quarantine has been allowed by the pandemic response task force.

Travelers aged below 18 years old and above 65 years old have to present a negative swab test before boarding a flight. For tourists 18 to 65, meanwhile, they have to check the travel requirements of the destination.

Puyat said the DOT is also open to partnering with hospitals, accredited-COVID testing centers to expand the subsidized RT-PCR test.