PCCI supports easing of local travel restrictions

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The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has expressed support for the government’s decision to harmonize travel protocols, saying it would facilitate travel movement, the flow of goods and services, and boost local tourism.

In a statement on Wednesday, the PCCI said the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) would re-stimulate domestic tourism, which in turn would further reopen the economy and bring back jobs.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the tourism sector accounted for an average of 7.4 percent of the Philippine economy between 2008 and 2018.

About 5.71 million Filipinos were employed in the travel and tourism industry as of 2019.

Recently, the IATF approved a resolution to have a harmonized travel protocols among local government units (LGUs), easing the requirements for local travels, such as a negative result of screening for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), mandatory quarantine unless exhibiting symptoms upon arrival at the destination and other documents like medical certificate and travel permit.

PCCI president Benedicto Yujuico said LGUs should plan how to make tourist destinations safe for travelers and their constituents by investing in a health care system to manage the spread of the coronavirus.

“Investing in infection control facilities, such as (the) widespread availability of disinfectants, improvement of ventilation, and re-designing of spaces to allow greater social distancing, are significant to reinvigorate the industry and it will benefit the constituents as well,” Yujuico said.

PCCI tourism committee chair Samie Lim is also pushing for boosting public-private partnerships now that the government is reviving the tourism industry.

“If the public and private sector work as one, we can find the solution of bringing people from their homes to Covid-free bubble destinations through a secure travel system for a safe vacation. Safe travel routes will allow us to go on vacation again,” Lim added.

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