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PH Gets Big Nominations at the 2020 World Travel Awards

The Philippines secured four major nominations at this year’s World Travel Awards (WTA), according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The country is vying for the titles World’s Leading Beach Destination and World’s Leading Dive Destination. Siargao, in particular, has bagged a nomination for the World’s Leading Island Destination category.

Meanwhile, the DOT is competing for the World’s Leading Tourist Board.

The tourism office urges the public to show support for the country by voting. Registration is at the It’s More Fun in the Philippines page. By clicking on the categories, voters can see the polls and choose the Philippines option. Voting runs until the 25th of October.

Established in 1993, WTA has emerged as one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies in the travel industry, recognizing different players, from tourism to hospitality to airline and hotel sectors. This year marks their 27th anniversary.

For the 2020 Grand Tour, WTA will be featuring gala ceremonies in the Caribbean (Bahamas), Europe (Antalya, Turkey), Africa & Indian Ocean (Nairobi, Kenya), Latin America (Santiago, Chile), North America (Thompson Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada), Asia and Oceania (Seoul, South Korea) and Middle East (Dubai).

International Recognition

Despite the pandemic halting travel activities, the country continued to earn praises from the international community this year. 

Back in June, Forbes named the Philippines as one of the “rising stars” in the post-COVID world. Citing Manila and Quezon City, the publication said that the cities allow travelers to experience the “mainstream Filipino culture.” It recognized Palawan and Boracay as well for their white sand beaches and ecotourism programs.

Meanwhile, in July, well-respected travel magazine Travel + Leisure named Palawan as World’s Best Island. This is the third time the island-province bagged the title, having been recognized in 2013 and 2017.

Last month, the Philippines secured the Safe Travels Stamp from the global organization World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The agency grants such recognition to destinations that have passed global standardized measures on health and hygiene. 

In the past months, the DOT has been implementing stricter protocols in tourism establishments around the country. They have urged industry players to secure Certificate of Authority to Operate and outlined new normal policies in specific settings, including accommodation establishments, transportation, restaurants, beaches, and islands.

Tourism Reopening

International recognitions can help bolster efforts to restart tourism activities in the country and recover from the pandemic. Recently, popular destinations have started to reopen their borders. 

Boracay began accepting local vacationers in June, easing its age restrictions the following month to welcome young and old tourists from Western Visayas. The island further relaxed its regulations, opening its doors to all regions in the country this October. A total of 35 individuals visited on Boracay’s first day of accepting all domestic travelers, ABS-CBN News reported.

Certain parts of the island of Palawan have also welcomed guests. El Nido reopened in August after passing DOT’s health protocols, as Manila Times mentioned in this article.

Meanwhile, in Bicol, over 104 tourism sites have resumed operations, as the region accepted domestic travelers, as reported by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). This includes beach resorts, islands, natural tourism spots (mountain, waterfalls, and river cruising), and cultural and historical sites and landmarks. 

The province has been aggressively promoting agri-tourism, opening farm sites in Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Camarines Norte.

Up north, Baguio lifted travel restrictions this month, accepting visitors from Region I, which covers the provinces of Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and La Union. 

The City Tourism Office approved 52 out of 139 applications, Manila Bulletin reported. The individuals submitted their requests through Baguio VISITA (Visitors information and Tourist Assistance) online registration portal.

Baguio is set to ease restrictions in the coming months, with Phase 2 accepting tourists from Regions II and III, and Phase 3, from all other regions. Interested vacationers must submit coronavirus test results and complete documents to secure entry to the city.

More destinations are set to ease travel limits. Bohol’s Panglao Island aims to open in the last quarter of the year, according to this news report from PNA

Tourism establishments in the island-province must secure the Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) Seal on top of the DOT’s accreditation to reopen business.

Northern Luzon destinations, namely Benguet, Ifugao, and Sagada, are planning to lift travel restrictions as well, following Baguio City, as reported by Business Mirror.

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Article and Photo originally posted by Lamudi last October 7, 2020 .