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PH all set for ‘travel bubble’ arrangements

THE Philippines is just waiting for a fitting moment to negotiate “travel bubble” arrangements with its neighboring countries to revive international tourism.

Department of Tourism (DoT) Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., said when restrictions ease on international, “we may explore travel bubbles with our neighbors travel.”

Travel bubbles are so called because they are confined to travelers between two destinations, whose governments trust that their partners have managed COVID-19 effectively, mitigating any risk of bringing in the coronavirus. Pairs of destinations that have agreed to bubble arrangements include Australia and New Zealand, and Hong Kong and Singapore.

Bengzon also urged travelers to avail of government-subsidized coronavirus testing. Tests are required for travel to both domestic and international destination.

Under the program, the DoT subsidizes 50% of the cost of a swab test for travelers getting their tests done at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) or Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

The regular price of a swab test at the PGH is P1,800.00. The PCMC price is P1,500.

Bengzon said about 12,000 travelers have availed of the subsidized tests at the PGH and around 11,000 to 12,000 availing of the discount at the PCMC.

The DoT supports the streamlining and harmonization of travel requirements.