Lapu-Lapu City discourages use of ‘homestay’ app as it reopens tourism industry
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Citing its “weak monitoring mechanisms,” the Lapu-Lapu City Government discourages tourism players and tourists to book their vacation trips using applications that offer homestays.
This was just one of the new rules the city government has laid down in the latest executive order (EO) which Mayor Junard Chan signed on Saturday, September 26, 2020.
The EO orders the creation of the Balik Turismo Task Force which Chan will head to oversee the reopening of the city’s tourism industry. Its members will include City Hall department heads and representatives of national government agencies and the private sector.
Chan’s EO No. 2020-70 mandates the task force to oversee the operations of the city’s tourism industry as it reopens while the city is under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) has already allowed the resumption of tourism enterprises in areas under MGCQ.
EO No. 2020-70 provides the guidelines on the operation of hotels and other accommodations, island hopping activities, and Olango Island tours.
The EO discourages the use of apps offering homestays such as Airbnb saying that these have “weak monitoring mechanisms on the compliance of minimum public health standards.”
“It shall be the policy of the city government to discourage the use of Airbnb and other similar establishments due to lack or weak monitoring mechanisms on the compliance of minimum public health standards,” a portion of the seven-page EO reads.
Aside from discouraging this type of service application, other notable policies the Lapu-Lapu City government wants to implement include the need to prohibit non-residents from use of its public beaches, the requirement for visitors to book their resort accommodations ahead of their scheduled arrival date, and prohibiting minors in areas where alcoholic beverages are served.
Operators of businesses that are engaged in island-hopping and diving activities are also required to set up an online booking portal for guests in order to monitor and control the number of visitors in a day.
Island-hopping and diving activities are allowed from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, the EO said.
“An operator shall request for a special permit from TCHAC (Tourism Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission) for every night dive trip it shall offer. Furthermore, no penalty shall be imposed on an operator or boatmen if the vessel shall remain at sea beyond 4 p.m. for reasons beyond its control such as engine or mechanical failure, bad weather, and the like,” it added.
The Lapu-Lapu City government has also directed boatmen to undergo real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests before they can operate and start accepting visitors.
“All boatmen, who will board accredited ships or bancas and provide island hopping or diving activities, shall first under RT-PCR swabbing. Those with negative results shall be issued with special IDs from the city, which will serve as proof that they are COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) free,” the EO reads.
Tourists bound for Olango Island are likewise advised to book their accommodations ahead of their arrival date as, upon registration on the island, they will be required to present their planned itinerary that includes the number of days they will be staying there, and the name of the establishment that they booked.
Chan has been vocal about his plans to already reopen Lapu-Lapu City’s tourism industry, which he cited as one of the major economic drivers in the city. It was one of the sectors worst hit by the coronavirus crisis. / dcb
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