Tourism in Boracay in Malay, Aklan, which has been affected by the COVID-19 threat (formerly known as the 2019-novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV) is expected to get a much-needed boost with the scheduled visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to the island resort.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat bared that the President is set to prove that tourist destinations, particularly Boracay, Cebu, and Bohol, are safe from COVID-19.

Romulo-Puyat said the President will “start traveling around the country to show that it’s safe.”

The President will also be taking “commercial (flight) and go through the proper protocols to show that it’s safe to travel around the country,” the tourism chief added.

“The visit of the President is welcome to lift the tourism industry hurt by the COVID-19 scare.”

Malay town Mayor Floribar Bautista said the visit of the President is welcome to lift the tourism industry hurt by the COVID-19 scare.

“We are ready for his visit,” Bautista said.

The President taking commercial flights for his visit will also be an opportunity for the local government to show and prove that precautionary measures against the spread of the virus are in place in the ports of entry.

Bautista has estimated that the COVID-19 threat has caused the country a 30 to 40 percent drop in tourist arrivals.

The local government of Malay is joining the campaign to boost domestic tourism after the Department of Tourism in Western Visayas (DOT 6) pushed for intra-regional tourism since the ban on international flights coming from China due to the COVID-19 scare.

“The local visitors can keep our tourism industry alive.” 

“That is how it is supposed to be. In spite that we have problems outside of the country, the local visitors can keep our tourism industry alive,” Bautista said.

He noted that the temporary suspension of the entry of all persons with travel history to China, Macao, and Hong Kong for the past 14 days to the municipality starting Feb. 7 has helped in securing Malay town from the possible entry of the virus.

The said action, established through Executive Order No. 04 series of 2020, deploys border patrols to the boundaries of Malay to check passengers’ travel history especially tourists.

The border patrols composed of the local police station, the Philippine National Police mobile force company, the Philippine Army, Municipal Auxiliary Police, Malay Municipal Health Office and Municipal Tourism Office are guarding the boundaries 24/7.

“It’s the fifth day of our checkpoint and we are satisfied with the result,” the mayor said.

He said Boracay Island and Malay town remain free of COVID-19. 

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