MANILA, May 26 (Mabuhay) — Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday expressed hope that the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) would allow travel outside the NCR Plus area by June 1.

Puyat said the Department of Tourism (DOT) had asked the IATF to approve their recommendation to allow travels outside the NCR Plus – which covers Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite – as there were fewer COVID-19 cases in the area.

“We are hoping na by June 1, kung mag-GCQ tayo, our cases are going down na, finally, payagan nila,” the Tourism Secretary said.

(We are hoping that by June 1, we are still in GCQ and they approve these travels because the cases are already going down.)

Puyat added that allowing travels outside the NCR Plus, as long as the travelers are tested, would help the country recover from the lost income from the lockdowns imposed during the Holy Week and the summer season.

Furthermore, the DOT was also pushing for the restart of tourism-related economic activities but still balanced with health and safety.

The DOT Secretary said that there were no COVID-19 outbreaks that were so far recorded due to tourism activities.

“We are praying na, well, I can say the cases in Metro Manila is going down compared to the second lockdown, but I’m hoping na payagan [that they will approve] as long as may test before travel,” she said.

Currently, the government only allows staycations and point-to-point air travel in the NCR Plus area.

The DOT had allowed staycations in the following hotels:

Okada Manila Hotel

Shangri-la at the Forts

Grand Hyatt Hotel

Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila

Nobu Hotel

EDSA Shangri-la Manila

Hyatt Regency and

Nuwa Hotel of City of Dreams

Solaire Resort

The Peninsula Manila

Aruga by Rockwell

Hilton Manila, and

Sheraton Manila Hotel

The NCR Plus is under a GCQ with heightened restrictions from May 15 to May 31, 2021. (MNS)