Villafuerte to LGUs: Remove ‘burdensome’ entry restrictions on travelers


Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte on Tuesday urged local government units (LGUs) to ditch any entry restrictions on inbound travelers that are still in effect in their areas of jurisdiction.

Villafuerte pointed out that keeping the strict restrictions on the entry of travelers or tourists up to now defeats the purpose of Executive Order 7, which President Ferdinand Marcos had issued to further relax COVID-19 protocols.

“EO 7 will be rendered useless if international travellers or tourists would finally be enticed anew to go to the Philippines, only to end up being saddled, upon their arrival in the national capital or elsewhere, with troublesome entry requirements in the local places they want to visit,” Villafuerte said.

He added, “How can Malacañan Palace and the DOT (Department of Tourism) convincingly tell the rest of the world that the Philippines is truly open for business and for tourists if the burdensome travel protocols that were put up as part of the anti-Covid lockdowns or mobility restrictions are still in place?”

Villafuerte said “it is nice to know” that the number of tourist arrivals hit 1.9 million at the start of November, higher than this year’s target of 1.7 million and 2021’s total arrivals of 1.4 million.

“But there is really no room for complacency here, when one considers that our regional rivals, like Thailand, for instance, already had 7 million tourists as of October, and expects its visitor arrivals to reach a total of 10 million by end-December,” he stressed. “We certainly have no way of catching up, much less overtake our ASEAN competitors for tourists when we continue to have barriers like cumbersome local-travel requirements that naturally turn off prospective visitors.”

The lawmaker added that the recovery of the tourism sector is urgent given the statement of Marcos that the industry is among the high potential drivers for the country’s economic transformation.

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