FULLY SUBSIDIZED: Free Swab Tests Now Available For Domestic Tourists
The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced last week that free RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests are now available at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).
In partnership with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the financial subsidy program aims to boost tourism in the country. Under the subsidy, a total of 350 applicants per day will be granted free.
Many of the country’s destinations now accept fully vaccinated visitors without requiring the swab test. The free testing is only for domestic tourists whose destination still requires a negative result from an RT-PCR test or for staycation purposes.
The program is part of the Department’s extensive efforts to market and promote the country as a safe tourism destination and pave the way to a more robust recovery of the tourism industry.
IMAGE from the Department of Tourism
“As travel restrictions continue to ease up, we aim to encourage more tourists to visit their destination of choice by providing a full subsidy on RT-PCR testing. This program helps ensure the safety of tourists, tourism workers, and local stakeholders in various destinations,” said Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat.
The recovery of the tourism industry had been hampered by the cost of the testing required by the local government units of the tourist destinations as part of the health and safety protocols against Covid-19. Many domestic tourists have had to put off travel plans because of the added cost of testing.
The partnership with PCMC was first rolled out in December 2020 covering 50 percent of the hospital’s swab testing cost. More than 15,000 tourists availed themselves of the subsidy program from January to June this year.
On June 23, the second phase of the program was implemented covering July to December 2021. This is now amended to cover the Php 1,500 full cost of the RT-PCR test with a cap of 350 approved applicants per day. This will benefit more than 12,000 qualified domestic tourists until the end of the year.
Previously, the TPB also partnered with the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital in subsidizing 50 percent of the hospital’s swab testing for domestic tourists, which accounted for 17,320 tourists from Dec. 18, 2020 to July 7, 2021.
Domestic tourists wishing to avail themselves of the free testing at PCMC may visit https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ for application procedures and requirements. They may also visit https://app.philippines.travel/ to get the latest news and updates on travel requirements nationwide.
Source: The Department of Tourism