That’s one less thing to worry about when budgeting for travel.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced June 2 that it would resume subsidizing 50% of the cost of RT-PCR testing for qualified domestic tourists through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, the marketing and promotions arm of DOT.
The government has allotted P35.17 million for the whole year for this subsidy to encourage people to go to local destinations and revive the tourism industry, a sector that lost P401 billion due to the pandemic in 2020.
The resumption of the subsidy follows the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to allow leisure travel for persons of all ages between the NCR Plus bubble and areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said, “The Philippine tourism industry has been adversely affected by the pandemic. The subsidy aims to encourage domestic travel by aiding the tourists in fulfilling the RT-PCR test requirement, and to enable them to visit their destination of choice at a lesser cost.”
She stressed that the increased number of travelers could help boost consumer spending, which in turn could hasten economic recovery.
The TPB has an agreement with two government hospitals and their accredited COVID-19 laboratories for the program—the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Manila and the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City.
Applicants for the subsidy should have confirmed roundtrip tickets and a booking confirmation with a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment
The current agreement of the TPB with the UP-PGH and PCMC runs from January to June 2021, with the UP-PGH and PCMC receiving P9.99 million and P8.70 million, respectively, benefiting 22,711 domestic travelers.
The TPB is set to ink a new Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the PCMC to extend the RT-PCR Subsidy Program from July 1 to December 31, 2021, to benefit 13,333 local tourists.
The DOT also clarified that IATF’s Resolution 118A, which allows leisure travel between the NCR Plus Bubble and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) from June 1 to 15, that local government units (LGU) may (or may not) require all tourists to present a negative RT-PCR test. Those below 18 years old and above 65 may travel for leisure with the RT-PCR test being mandatory.
In the case of Boracay Island, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) still requires all tourists to present a negative RT-PCR test result prior to visiting the island.
To apply for the 50% RT-PCR test subsidy for tourists, click here.