The Department of Tourism (DOT) is considering providing free swab tests to encourage more tourists to visit the country’s reopened destinations.

Currently, Metro Manila travelers can take the discounted PHP750 RT-PCR test from the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, the original price of which is PHP 3,577.

“Our funding with the PCMC is ongoing. If things went as planned, we asked for permission to subsidize everything, to get it all down to earth, ”said Tourism Minister Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in an ANC interview on Wednesday.

In Baguio City, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated minors aged 12 to 17 years old must present a negative RT-PCR or antigen test result within 72 hours.

For adults, only fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to enter town.

Boracay Island also requires a negative one RT-PCR or saliva test result that was done 72 hours prior to travel, but Romulo-Puyat said the local government could suspend the test for fully vaccinated people until November.

Also Cebu City (unvaccinated, partially vaccinated), El Nido in Palawan, Baler, Camiguin and Ilocos Norte require a test taken 72 hours in advance.

Other destinations, however, require the RT-PCR test to be carried out 48 hours before departure such as Coron and San Vicente in Palawan and the province of Surigao del Norte, including Siargao.

For Camiguin and Coron, only fully vaccinated tourists with negative test results are allowed to enter. Some destinations like Bohol and Cebu City are now waiving their RT-PCR requirement for fully vaccinated individuals.

Romulo-Puyat is optimistic that more destinations would ease their restrictions as the government increases its vaccinations for the general population as well as for “Our goal is to vaccinate 100 percent (of the tourist workers) before Christmas, and hopefully when they are 100 percent vaccinated they would ease travel restrictions,” she said.

The country has so far vaccinated 65 percent of its tourism workers across the country, the tourism chief said. (PNA)

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