Cebu Province eyes ‘simplified’ travel bubble with China, Japan, S. Korea

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu province is now looking forward to implementing a ‘travel bubble’ as one of its first steps to gradually resume international leisure travel.

And the provincial government wants to simplify all requirements and processes for incoming foreign tourists.

The Capitol met with the Consul Generals of China, Japan, and South Korea last November 17, together with national government agencies, to discuss the proposed ‘travel bubble’ between Cebu and these three countries.

‘Travel bubble’ is the term commonly used to define travel that is limited within specific regions or countries.

Officials from the provincial government suggested that should the ‘travel bubble’ proposal come into fruition, a ‘simplified guideline’ must be put in place.

This means that foreign tourists will be guided and made aware of the travel conditions, from departure to arrival.

“Our suggestion here is to simplify things. First, the requirement — that the tourist should be fully vaccinated. Citizens (China, Japan, and South Korea), who intend to come here, should be able to present a vaccination card,” said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, the Capitol’s consultant on public health affairs.

Loreche also suggested on presenting complete itineraries and undergoing rapid antigen tests to be part of the ‘simplified travel bubble’ in Cebu.

At any rate, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, during the meeting, said these were still plans and possibilities, and that the Central Visayas office of the Department of Tourism (DOT) was expected to present it before their counterparts in the central office.

“Let us see how we may establish protocols in creating this bubble. We are not trying to do this for the entire country anyway, we are just doing this in the Province of Cebu,” Garcia added.

Tourists from China, Japan, and South Korea are Cebu’s three largest markets of international arrivals.

International tourist arrivals in the island-province hit 4.3 million in 2019, a year before the Covid-19 struck, with South Koreans making up 17.5 percent of the share.

They were followed by Chinese tourists with 762,583 arrivals and Japan with 548,627 arrivals.

The Capitol’s meeting with top diplomats from China, Japan, and South Korea also came days after the national government announced that they might start accepting international tourists soon.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) “has approved in principle the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from Green List countries/territories/jurisdictions.” / with reports from INQUIRER.net

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Source: Einnews

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