Bohol ponders travel bubbles with neighbours

The Bohol provincial government is preparing to open up select destinations in the province to domestic and international tourists, starting with Panglao, under the Philippines’ travel bubble initiative.

As the province’s best-known destination, Panglao is home to the new Bohol International Airport and a number of hotels.

Bohol eyes reopening certain destinations, starting with Panglao Island; aerial view of a resort and bungalows in Panglao Island, Bohol, the Philippines pictured

Bohol will partner directly with neighbouring market sources that are also successful in mitigating Covid-19 cases, with tourists travelling directly to Panglao, Bohol governor Arthur Yap said in an online presentation at the 4th general membership meeting of the Philippine Tour Operators Association (Philtoa) on Tuesday.

Itineraries within other parts of Bohol can be developed later for point-to-point travel, he said.

Yap has no exact date for reopening Panglao, but hopes that delegates to the Philippine Travel Exchange (Phitex), the country’s biggest government-organised international travel trade event, to be hosted by Panglao in September, can review and critically evaluate the programme.

Calling the programme a “travel bubble within a bubble”, Yap said Bohol will only embark on an aggressive marketing blitz when the scheme is ready for launch, with a concrete tourism plan in place.

Apart from mapping out the tourism plan, there will also be an ordinance detailing firm guidelines for safe travels, with the other critical aspects of sustainability, carrying capacity and environmental laws compliance built into the guidelines.

There will also be the Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) seal of excellence for safe and seamless travel for tourism players who are ready to accept tourists.

Another of Yap’s innovation is integrating everything online for a centralised supply chain, from reservations to payment.

Scanning of QR codes using smartphones will be used for contactless contact tracing efforts, while an app will be developed to note the details of tourists and locals without smartphones.

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