DOT: PH Safe For Tourists Amid Coronavirus Scare

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The Philippines remains a safe travel destination for foreign tourists amid a scare over the novel coronavirus (nCoV) reaching the country, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.

“The safety of our tourists is number one (as well as the) safety of those in the tourism industry, it’s always safe. We will never make our tourists come if we don’t think it’s safe. Imagine, we tell you to come and there’s one incident that destroys the (country’s) image. We are very careful, we stress on safety,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during a press conference in Makati City.

Romulo-Puyat said there is nothing to worry about traveling to key destinations in the country as authorities are on top of the situation.

“As I’ve said, Cebu is very safe and other areas, ‘yong Boracay naka-contain na (in Boracay, it’s already contained), we stopped already the flights,” she said.

Earlier, the United Kingdom updated its travel advisory to the Philippines, warning its nationals against health risks over the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in other parts of China and the region.

The Civil Aeronautics Board has suspended the flights between Wuhan, the origin of the 2019-nCoV, and the Philippines to contain the spread of the disease which is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

As of Thursday, the Department of Health said there is no confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in the Philippines.

When asked how the virus would affect the tourist arrivals to the country, especially with China being Manila’s second top market, Romulo-Puyat said it is still early to say but she reiterated that the tourists’ safety remains the top priority to the government.

“For me, I want the tourists to know that we want everybody who comes to the Philippines to be safe– safe from virus and safe from calamities. Ano ba naman ang numbers kung ma-a-agrabyado ang ibang turista (What is the sense of counting figures if other tourists will be affected),” she said. (PNA)