Tourism officials want uniform travel protocols in tourist destinations around the country, as the country steadily moves to revive the industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At the same time, flag carrier Philippine Airlines is offering a discounted rate for those taking Reverse Transcription - Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test, a requirement of air travelers amid the COVID-19.
“PAL’s testing facility at the Philippine Airlines Learning Center at 540 Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila is now offering RT-PCR services at a discounted rate of P3,300 with results released within 24 hours,” the PAL management said in a statement.
The new rate, which takes effect beginning Saturday (Dec. 12), is P700 less than the previous RT-PCR cost of P4,000.
Drive-through or walk-in testing will be available. The testing facility is open from Monday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said on Teleradyo Saturday: “I want to have uniform travel protocols because destinations right now they vary per destination. I think we are just starting. Eventually, we hope to have a unified travel protocol instead of having tourists... because others jump from one province to another and deal with different requirements.”
The government earlier eased requirements for domestic tourism as it hoped to boost the country’s economy affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the requirements are negative COVID-19 test results and travel authority documents, which may vary on the destination.
Some travelers have, meanwhile, aired concerns about taking the wrong type of tests, wasting resources when finding out they have to take another type of COVID-19 test for their destination.
Passengers are required to bring their identification card, PAL ticket, and QR code indicating completion of the Passenger Profile and Health Declaration (PPHD) form. There is no need for prior appointment to avail of the test.
The PPHD form is downloadable via https://bit.ly/PALDomPPHD and https://bit.ly/PALIntPPHD and must be filled up to five days before the flight.
To find out which countries and Philippine destinations require an RT-PCR test, PAL passengers are advised to visit https://bit.ly/PALTravelsFromPH (for international) and https://bit.ly/PALTravelsWithinPH (for domestic)
PAL is offering direct nonstop flights for returning Filipinos (balikbayans) this holiday season as the government granted visa-free entry privileges to tourists falling under the Balikbayan Program.
PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said Balikbayans and overseas Filipinos may choose from a wide range of regular PAL flights to Manila every week.
The airline assured clients it observes the highest safety standards and it complied with the health protocol imposed by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Puyat reminded tourists to coordinate with local government units or check the DOT’s phone app for requirements in every tourist destination.
Eight tourism sites have opened since the government eased travel protocols: Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Baguio City, Bohol, Boracay, Siargao, El Nido, and Coron, Palawan.