By Hanah Tabios
The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) is looking at creating cross-border tour packages in some of the local travel destinations where coronavirus cases have been contained.
Called “green lane circuits,” PHILTOA President Cesar Cruz said this is a type of travel arrangement under the holistic “travel bubble” approach where local government units with jurisdiction over some tourist hotspots agree to open up their borders to select local tourists.
This is almost similar to Singapore’s new travel initiative, where it has already established “green lanes” with six provinces in China, with talks underway with the governments of New Zealand, Malaysia, and South Korea.
“Halimbawa, ang Boracay nag-open in Western Visayas. If they can come out with a protocol to protocol from province to province, this means to say na hindi lang yung taga-Iloilo o taga-Aklan o taga-Capiz ang pupunta ng Boracay kundi vice versa, there would be an exchange of cross-bordering dito sa ating mga leisure travelers, (For example, Boracay has opened up for Western Visayas [locals]. If they can come out with a protocol to protocol from province to province, this means to say that not only residents from Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz can go Boracay but vice versa, there would be an exchange of cross-bordering among our leisure travelers),” he said in an interview over CNN Philippines.
Cruz said “green lanes” is a good take off point for tourism recovery, especially that tour operators have zero income since travel restrictions have been imposed.
“We are now adjusting our tour packages to adapt to the new normal,” he added.
Tourism chief Berna Romulo-Puyat earlier said that the Department of Tourism is eyeing to adopt “travel bubbles” to help the industry recover from the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.