Davao City to reinvigorate sluggish tourism industry

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Aug) – The City of Davao is preparing to reinvigorate its tourism industry that has suffered a major slump this year due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.

Skycycling on the ziplines of Eden Nature Park and Resort in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by GIGI BUENO

Mayor Sara Duterte said in her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) the local government has been preparing for the possibility of reopening the city to tourists, by working doubly hard to establish a separate COVID-19 testing laboratory devoted for air travelers since tourism establishments are allowed to operate at limited capacity under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

“For local (travelers), yes, within the region but if you are outside of Davao Region since there is a requirement of a travel authority, this makes our movement difficult. Under MGCQ, leisure establishments are allowed open,” she said.

Under MGCQ, she said the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) prohibits the operation of cockpits, beerhouses, and kids’ entertainment or playrooms.

City Tourism Office and Operations head Generose Tecson said on Wednesday that hotels, with a provisional certificate of authority to operate from the Department of Tourism, are allowed to resume operations.

The city’s eco-tourism destination, Eden Nature Park & Resort, has already resumed operations while Davao Crocodile Park is slated to reopen next month, Tecson added.

She said that more tourism establishments would reopen gradually.

But Duterte reminded the public to not lower their guard and practice the basic health protocols since the quarantine measures remain due to COVID-19.

“Our priority is ‘stay home’,” she stressed.

The local government of Davao required all inbound passengers who have no negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result issued within 72 hours before scheduled departure from the airport of origin, to undergo COVID-19 testing at the Davao International Airport, at the expense of the local government.

Passengers will be placed in isolation facilities within the airport where they will have to wait for RT-PCR test results to be issued within 24 hours.

Duterte said the COVID-19 laboratory of DOT-Davao would be placed at the Los Amigos Health Center.

She said that the local government is complying with the requirements to accredit the health center as a Biosafety Level 2 laboratory. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)