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No more swab tests for local tourists
By: Mylen Manto, Vanessa Almeda | Published Tuesday, February 23, 2021
No swab tests are needed for local tourists who want to come to Cebu Province. (Bo Mancao)

Cebu Province will no longer require swab tests to travelers from other provinces in the country.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued and signed Executive Order (EO) 12 on Monday, February 22, making it easier for travelers who wish to visit Cebu's renowned tourism destinations. 

The EO is a major policy breakthrough as this will be the first local initiative to encourage tourism activity in order for the economy to recover after suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

All the tourists need to prepare are a valid medical certificate issued within seven days before the travel date and proof of booking at a hotel or resort accredited by the Cebu Provincial Tourism Task Force.

They must also pass through symptoms checking at the point of departure and point of arrival.

A memorandum will also be issued to all mayors on the check-in requirements of tourists in their respective hotels and resorts. 

The tourists must pre-book their stay through the Province’s online tourism portal and present their medical certificate upon check-in.

Since mid-2020, the governor has been pushing for the reopening of the Province’s tourism industry to bring back the livelihoods of the Cebuanos crushed by the pandemic while maintaining minimum health protocols.

Earlier, she issued EO No. 9 which eased the travel restrictions for persons coming to Cebu Province following the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) guidelines.

The EO removed letters of acceptance from the local government unit (LGU) of destination from the list of documentary requirements.

Authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) also no longer needed to undergo mandatory testing or quarantine protocols of the LGU of destination. 

They only need to present valid work identification card, an original or certified true copy of a travel authority or order, pass symptoms screening at the port upon arrival, and strictly comply with the minimum health standards.

Non-APORs are also allowed to enter into the Province as long as they present a valid medical certificate and pass symptoms screening at the point of departure and at the point of arrival.

Travel package

Last Friday, February 19, the governor met with the Tourism Task Force, and representatives of tour operators, travel agencies, and airline industry, among others to finalize the guidelines for opening the Province’s tourism to other provinces.

In the meeting, the tour operators and agencies suggested to create a “competitive package” to entice tourist to come to the Province.

Andrew Teh, representative of Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialist (CATOS)/Cebu Travels and Tours Association (CTTA), said the travel package can be called as Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, a four-day-three-night trip for an affordable price. 

He urged the tourism stakeholders such as airlines, travels and tour operators, as well as resorts and restaurants to contribute to the package inclusions.

No lockdown

In a press conference on Friday, Garcia emphasized that there will be no lockdown in Cebu Province, contrary to suggestions that were raised because of an alleged “Cebu variant” of Covid-19.

 “So mag MGCQ (in Metro Manila) sila didto unya kita i-lockdown. So, tua nila tanan investment, buhi tanan nilang negosyo, tua tanan turismo unya kita, ang Cebu sirhan, paantuson ta diri. Mao na ang rason nga pangusgan ko gyud ni og barugan ko gyud ni, depensahan nako ang Cebu, dili mi ninyo makaya-kaya. Ay mog pataka diha,” she said.