DOT drops masks, vaxx proof for tourism entities


By Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo / Special to the BusinessMirror

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) has eased up on earlier directives to tourism establishments meant to halt the spread of Covid-19.

On Sunday, the agency released Memorandum Circular 2023-0002, which allows tourism enterprises to lift the requirement for guests and clients to show proof of full vaccination, and the wearing of face masks.

Through MC 2003-0002, the DOT also said it no longer requires tourism establishments to install plastic, acrylic barriers and dividers in designated areas. The memo likewise ordered the removal of signages, visual cues, and other installations on mandatory protocols, which have since been liberalized by the national government.

“This latest issuance on the relaxed health and safety guidelines for tourism establishments reinforces the [DOT’s] commitment towards addressing the economic hardships of the tourism industry brought about by the lockdowns and restrictions of the pandemic,” said Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco in a news statement.

“It sends the important message across that, under the Marcos administration, our country is open for tourism, and that we are keeping up with global practices on tourism operations that have already opened up worldwide,” she added.

As the national government has shifted its policy to maintaining minimum public health standards, the DOT will no longer issue the PH Safety Seal, under a program jointly implemented with the Department of Trade and Industry. Also, the agency said it will no issue the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels Stamp, under a program initiated by the international private sector-led organization, that showed destinations have adopted global health and safety standards. (See, “2 NCR hotels awarded WTTC ‘safe travels’ stamp from the DOT,” in the BusinessMirror, January 26, 2021.)

In the same memorandum circular, DOT-accredited hotels and resorts no longer have to report the number, nature of work, and length of stay of permitted guests, as well as names of companies or businesses with employees that are booked with their respective establishments, in their monthly reports to the agency’s regional offices.