AIRASIA has joined calls from business groups and local government units to allow leisure travel subject to strict bubble tourism for island destinations such as Panglao and Boracay.
This comes after Panglao, Bohol Tourism Council vowed to manage tourist arrivals from various parts of the country, to include those from the NCR Plus (Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna) which is now under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.
Speaking on behalf of the Panglao Local Government Unit (LGU) and Tourism stakeholders, Councilor Aya Montero-Caindec said, “LGU Panglao is equipped to fully operate with our established health and safety guidelines governing the businesses, tourists and local residents to mitigate the spread of virus in our island.”
“If we must, we will again adapt the tourism bubble strategy to ensure a conditioned balance of priority of health and safety and fully work towards unimpeded resuscitation of our tourism economic recovery,” she added.
The Panglao Tourism Council is set to convene on Friday, May 21, 2021 together with Panglao Chamber of Commerce and Industry to formalize their request to reopen tourism in the island.
The LGU plans to issue a resolution to include the tourism frontliners on the vaccination roll-out to boost confidence on the tourists who plan to visit Panglao as part of their strengths on the tourism recovery roadmap.
Panglao LGU reported a loss of P124 million in Gross Tourism Receipt for the months of April and May due to the pandemic.
The Boracay Chamber of Commerce (BCC) also appealed to prioritize tourism workers in the vaccine rollout in the island.
DOT Region 6 earlier reported that Boracay lost P49 billion in potential tourism revenues in 2020 because of the travel restriction. Last January 2021 tourism arrival in the island also fell down by 80% because of the pandemic.
BCC President Wesley van der Voort said, “We know that travelers both domestic and abroad are very eager to return to Boracay. By vaccinating the priority list as well as all tourism workers, we can confidently open-up tourism on a broader scale, restart the sleeping economic profit engine, and the Department of Tourism (DOT) can promote the ‘Crown Jewel of the Philippine Tourism’ as #VaccinatedBoracay confidently, loud and proud.”
In its position paper dated May 5, 2021, the Boracay Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the provincial government and the DOT to open-up the island to international bubbles to restart the economy.
The chamber also called for the resumption of unimpeded regular flights to the island.
AirAsia for its part expressed its support on both initiatives as this will open up opportunities for economic recovery and growth.
Citing the decreasing number of cases for the NCR, Panglao and Boracay, the airline said existing health and safety protocols from each touch points such as the submission of a negative RT-PCR test and the use of the QR code for contact tracing will greatly contribute to the confidence of travelers.
As of May 17, 2021, there are only 10 active cases in the island of Boracay. Panglao Island on the other hand registered 16 asymptomatic cases. COVID cases in the NCR meanwhile continue to drop with a reproduction rate of 0.57 according to health research sources.
AirAsia Philippines Spokesperson Steve Dailisan said: “Undeniably, tourism is the bread and butter of these island destinations. Our efforts of putting high value safety are slowly paying off. As with our past experiences, the tourism bubble has been proven to be an effective measure in keeping the balance between opening economic activities and ensuring the well-being of everyone.
AirAsia will continue to do its part in observing the highest standards of safety in air travel, and will support initiatives from our key industry stakeholders as we move towards the process of recovery, he said.
AirAsia’s efforts by going above and beyond the protection of its passengers against COVID-19 have earned the airline a perfect 7-star rating from Airlineratings.com.