Bohol to reopen to foreign tourists in Q4

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    After Boracay, the next tourism site to open may be Bohol, recipient of a $62 million funding from the World Bank.

    Gov. Arthur Yap at a virtual forum hosted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) over the weekend said Bohol may open in the last quarter of the year.

    Yap said that is the moving target date.

    DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said Bohol will form part of the tourism bubble where foreign tourists from areas with few new corona virus disease 2019 cases can go straight to the province via Panglao, which is connected to 12 international airports.

    Bohol, which is under a modified community quarantine, is open to local tourists.

    The World Bank has committed P2.1 billion to Bohol for the phase one of a program which include bulk water project, tourist site enhancement and sea ambulance.

    Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano

    Yap said the province will be employing the Ultimate Bohol Experience certification system that will award an “UBE Seal” to establishments that are compliant with health and safety protocols. The UBE Seal, inspired by the province’s special food crop—the Ube Kinampay, will complement the DOT’s accreditation system, Yap said.

    Bohol is also finalizing an ordinance that aligns with the existing national laws and tourism guidelines. The ordinance, Yap said, shall prescribe health protocols, determine the carrying capacity of tourism destinations, provide guidance on centralized reservation and payments, and compliance to environmental rules for Bohol.

    Bohol is one of the tourism destinations that the DOT supports through its Transforming Communities towards Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Tourism (TouRIST) Program, and will receive funding and assistance from the World Bank.

    Under the TouRIST Program, Puyat said the DOT shall focus on implementing the following improvements in Bohol: bulk water supply, solid waste management; local economic development like the Assistance to Reinvigorate Tourism (ART) value chain, Palengke Program, and tourism sites enhancement and management; and management support for hygiene preparedness in tourist sites, as well as the provision of decompression chambers and sea ambulances. The first phase of the project will have a total allocation of $62 million.