In Boracay, the first tourist site to reopen last June, domestic tourist arrivals have barely picked up. From February 1 to 21, data showed 11,278 tourists visited the island, all set to beat January’s 11,898 but down from December’s 15,307.
That was already nearly six times October when only 2,630 visited Boracay shores. But that pales in comparison with the 77,700 local tourists who visited per month in 2019.
Tourism Congress of the Philippines president Jose Clemente said there is a lot of catching up to do.
Apart from being wary of catching covid, requirements to travel are deterring people from taking a vacation, particularly the costly RT-PCR test.
The government tried to alleviate expenses by shouldering half the cost of PCR tests in select hospitals like the Philippine General Hospital. But requirements to avail of subsidy are likewise a hindrance, with only 4,435 people getting assisted in PGH as of February 15.