Tourism Sec. Bernadette Romulo Puyat told the local government of Aklan to step up their pace in improving the processes for tourists going to Boracay Island as the Christmas season is fast approaching.
After the Department of Tourism (DOT) received tons of complaints from stressed tourists whose travel plans were disrupted due to not acquiring a QR code, they advised the local government of Malay to simplify their travel requirements.
On November 16, Aklan waived the RT-PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated travelers; thus, the request for a QR code increased.
At that time, the issuance of the QR code was delayed due to a lack of workforce and equipment.
On the report of BusinessMirror, DOT Assistant Secretary Christopher Morales said in a Viber message, “From the usual 2,500 daily request, it shot up to 5,000 plus daily on November 15 and 16. Then we were told they [local government unit] lost 10 staff before November 15 and then some went AWOL.”
He added, if Aklan insists on using their QR code system, “They should strictly implement it in all establishments [on Boracay], otherwise, it’s useless.”
But, based on the DOT’s meeting on November 17 with Gov. Florencio Miraflores, Puyat said, “The province has updated its system; they now prioritize the issuance of the QR code based on the scheduled date of arrival of the tourist.”
“They also procured additional computers and four mobile phones to augment their ICT equipment requirement. In addition, the province hired more manpower support,” she added.
Puyat hoped that with the new measures put in place, tourists bound to Boracay Island wouldn’t have to experience the same problem again.
Furthermore, she said that the Aklan province has also agreed that “accommodation establishments will assist their guests in ensuring the completeness of requirements in securing a QR code.”
However, Puyat said that this isn’t enough, and the Aklan government still needs to simplify the process further.
“These are improvements, yes, but they have to step up more. They need to simplify the process. This is nothing compared to the Christmas season, when more tourists are expected to spend their holiday in Boracay,” she said.
Prepare for incoming international tourists. (Title)
Puyat also noted that the Aklan local government should also prepare for the “eventual reopening of the country to international travelers.”
She said that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved the DOT's request to allow fully vaccinated foreign tourists from green list countries to visit the country.
However, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Brigido Dulay separately said, “The guidelines are still being finalized. There are still a number of administrative issues that need to be fixed, aligned and reconciled.”