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DOT positive despite China travel ban

January 31, 2020 - Friday 6:01 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image Tourists walk along White Beach in Boracay (File photo)

MANILA — The government is optimistic Philippine tourism will remain resilient amid China's travel ban on outbound tour groups to prevent the spread of 2019-novel coronavirus (2019 n-CoV), a move seen to hit the industry across Asia who reaps the benefits of Chinese foreign travel.

"The DOT is optimistic that Philippine tourism will remain resilient and will undertake stronger initiatives with industry partners in pursuit of the goals set in the National Tourism Development Plan," the agency said in a statement on Tuesday, a day after the ban was announced.

The big-spending Chinese tourists are Manila's second top market, reaching 1,626,309 arrivals from January to November 2019. It also remained the fastest-growing market, with a growth rate of 40.2 percent from the previous period in 2018.

The DOT said it would defer to the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Health the implementation of appropriate measures to ensure the safety of both citizens and tourists.

It assured timely and sound advisories to stakeholders as it closely coordinates with local government units and concerned agencies.

In an interview on Tuesday, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana confirmed that Beijing banned outbound group tours except for Chinese nationals on essential travel.

"The Chinese government announced that all tour groups are hereby canceled to go out of China, so (it's) quite strong on the Chinese side, they stopped it basically, they closed their doors, (but) necessary, business, and official travel will probably be allowed under the rules," he said.

The Philippines has initially taken initiatives to battle the spread of 2019-nCoV after it suspended temporarily the issuance of visa upon arrivals for Chinese nationals. PNA