Uniform Travel Protocols across all active tourist destinations in the Philippines is a must

Uniform Travel Protocols across all active tourist destinations in the Philippines is a must

In a study conducted by the Department of Tourism (DOT), standardized travel protocols for all regions would encourage tourism even during the ongoing pandemic.

On February 17, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat reiterated her call for the enforcement of standardized health protocols across all active tourism destinations in the country.

In a survey titled "The Evolving Landscape of Domestic Travel in the Philippines" by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM)-Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, which was conducted by the DOT from November 28 to Dec 30, 2020, and is a follow up to the May 2020 survey, majority of the respondents cited that the top source of travel inconvenience is the "varying LGU (local government unit) safety protocols."

"The presence of a unified system that outlines the set of standard protocols in various travel destinations will help ease travel arrangements," it said. "This is especially important in catering to spontaneous day trip travelers."

Puyat agreed with the statement saying, “this is exactly our complaint because we in the DOT, we really go around and we follow all the protocols because we want to see how it is to travel,” she said in a virtual briefing.

“Admittedly, kahit na kami, nahihirapan din kasi (even us are having a hard time because) different provinces [have] different protocols and I agree that it is really important to have uniform travel protocols,” she added.

AIM's two-pronged survey gathered responses from a total of 7,243 people across all 78 provinces in the country, 809 of whom are individuals who traveled during the pandemic.

To improve the DOT's strategies to jumpstart the tourism industry, the survey also included responses from 108 tourism enterprises to get their sentiments on the “new normal” of travel.

Among the common traveler sentiments that were also obtained through the survey are:

  • Travelling is perceived as an answer to keeping one’s sanity;
  • Travel and safety protocols need to be standardized;
  • Travelling can be personalized; and
  • Travelers’ preferences have evolved.

Meanwhile, the main survey findings, for tourism enterprises were:

  • Stability of public health is perceived as the minimum requirement to accelerate the opening of local tourism;
  • A standardized set of health protocols and requirements are needed to promote tourist activity;
  • Financial survival (cash flow) remains to be the most pressing concerns of tourism enterprises; and
  • Marketing and promotions of tourism products and services remain to be the key point of intervention, followed by financial assistance.

In a bid to help the tourism chief said that The tourism chief said to help travel agencies and tour operators enhance their packages and services, as well as encourage more people to travel domestically, the department will roll out development initiatives such as business-to-business meetings, benchmarking, product audit, and familiarization tours featuring new sites and attractions.

“As always, we shall be taking a multi-lateral approach to address current issues relating to the pandemic, working more closely with local government units, stakeholders, and local communities,” Puyat said.

“Guided by the new survey results, the DOT and its partners will be able to plot the crucial next steps for the recovery of the tourism industry, creating better, more efficient, and effective strategies where there is mutual and inclusive growth for all,” she added.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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