The tourism stakeholders in Metro Manila are anticipating to finally shift to modified community quarantine by early next month to encourage traveling as the summer season starts.
Guiller Asido, the administrator at the Intramuros Administration (IA), announced that all of the Walled City's tourist attractions would be opened by the end of March.
Although, Asido said that under the GCQ, opening up all the sites of the Intramuros would only do as much since it still prohibits tour operators from offering their services to visiting guests.
"Under GCQ, tourism services are not yet allowed. The tour guides, for instance, are disallowed to undertake their activities. Also, events may not yet return soon," he told The STAR.
Only 75 percents of their capacity are authorized to do business for areas like Metro Manila under the GCQ
For cities like the Metro Manila under GCQ, only 75 percent of their capacity are allowed to operate their business such as travel agencies, tour operators, reservation services, and other related services. Also, tourist destinations are not allowed to reopen, and live events are prohibited, as a way to minimize physical contact that may be able to spread the virus quickly.
On the other hand, an increasing number of guests can be seen visiting the Intramuros, according to Asido, since reopening the Fort Santiago, Casa Manila Museum, and Beluarte de San Diego last month.
The first two weeks of the reopening of the Fort Santiago opened its walls to an average of 500 guests per day on the weekdays, and about 1000 visitors per weekend. Currently, Fort Santiago is authorized to receive about 100 individuals at a time. On the other hand, the Casa Manila Museum and the Baluarte de San Diego are restricted to receive only 50 guests.
Furthermore, the agency recommends doubling the number of available capacity to increase tourist attraction; to this Asido, might turn down as security and safety of the visitors hang on the balance.
"There are recommendations that we do 200 people at a time, but we will not do it abruptly, we will do it safely. We will study this recommendation first," he said.
Moreover, local governments also eagerly await the shift to MGCQ for the comeback of their tourism sectors, this encourages people to travel once again. Which will then be able to finally move the business establishment and resume their operations.
Maria Concepcion Yabut, the head of Makati City's International Relations Department (IRD), stated about only four percent of their hotels that are registered with the local government are authorized to accommodate travel leisure stays. As 79 of the Makati hotels are serving as quarantine facilities, and only three are authorized for travelers visitors.
Yabut added that many of the hotels in Makati City found new revenues by operating as temporary shelters for the workers that are employed mostly in business process outsourcing firms.
"Plenty of the significant hotels here opted to be quarantine facilities. What is worth mentioning all the more is that a number of Makati accommodation establishments, especially ones located in or near the central business district, were contracted by other prominent business types to be transient housing for their respective employees," Yabut said in an e-mail.
Furthermore, according to the Makati IRD head, the Makati City leadership agrees with the Department of Tourism (DOT) on reopening the economy more, especially in the sector of tourism and travel.
She said that the closing of a five-star hotel, the Makati Shangri-La was horrifying for the local government, as it "showed that no one is spared by the current global pandemic."
"The city of Makati is at one with the DOT in advocating for the opening of the economy further, in particular, tourism-related enterprises, such as hotels," Yabut added.
Despite the local government's enthusiasm in finally reopening the city in its full capacity, she promised that the locality would always keep in mind the regulations that are enforced by the national leadership. She said that it is in the best interest of everyone that the government should collaborate on the policies regarding the reopening of the economy.
As the tourism sector was heavily affected by the cause of the global pandemic as it restricted the mobility of traveling both domestically and abroad.