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Regional Updates (03/22/21)

Tourism chief says airlines, hotels won’t charge rebooking fee for Holy Week reservations

TOURISM Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Monday said the industry’s service providers and establishments — including airlines, hotels and restaurants — have informed her that there will be no rebooking fee for reservations made for the Holy Week holiday. In late February, travel restrictions across the country were eased by dropping most documentary requirements and negative RT-PCR test result. Over the weekend, the national government has imposed new limitations on movement, particularly for those residing in Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal. Staycations are allowed within these areas, but limited to those 18 to 65 years old.  “I’ve already talked to all airlines, they said there will be no rebooking fee, same with the hotel and restaurant associations,” Ms. Puyat, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino, said in an interview over ABS-CBN Teleradyo. The Department of Tourism, in a statement issued on Monday, said the Holy Week is a lost opportunity for the industry’s gradual reopening but “our goals for the sector will have to yield to public health concerns.” Thursday and Friday of Holy Week, which falls on April 1-2 this year, are non-working holidays in the Philippines and people traditionally go home to their provinces or visit tourism sites. “The Holy Week has always been a strategic opportunity for growth in the tourism sector,” the department said. The travel restrictions due to the fresh surge in new coronavirus cases are in effect from Mar. 22 to Apr. 4. “This will hopefully pave the way to a safer and more resilient resumption of tourism activities in the future,” it said. “With this, we would also like to express our gratitude to the hotel industry and airlines for allowing their clients to rebook without penalties as they support the goals of this administration for a healthy and safe tourism industry.” — MSJ

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