Tourists to Boracay frustrated with QR code delay
The Department of Tourism (DOT) has urged local government units (LGUs) to simplify the requirements tourists need to enter their leisure destinations.
The appeal was made after the agency received numerous complaints from potential tourists to the island of Boracay about the non-disclosure of their individual QR codes. The web portal where Boracay visitors upload their documents and complete their health declaration card online is operated by Aklan LGU.
A kiteboarder and frequent visitor to Boracay who requested anonymity, posted on Facebook: “Hundreds of people are complaining on FB that they don’t get their QR codes on time. THEY MISSED their flights !! Same [a resort manager] said she had confirmed guests who were unable to make it due to a long delay ang QR Code. I sent my application 30 hours ago and NOTHING. No one responds to cell phone, landline, or email follow-ups. People call Boracay a HELL place because of this problem! And suggesting not to go to Nalang and choose other na destinations.
Even BusinessMirror’s Lorenz Marasigan was in a panic on Saturday as he left for Boracay at 10 a.m. the next day, but had yet to receive his QR code. He reported: “No one was answering the cell phone numbers provided [by the Aklan tourism web site]. Sometimes someone would answer and then hang up the phone, and they would get busy. Finally, I managed to talk to someone around 8 p.m. I said I would wait by the phone until they released the QR code. They finally did.
On Facebook, Dhel Supetran of Caticlan Jetty Port and Passenger revealed that they were processing more QR code requests for more than 10,000 passengers as of November 16.
“Challenging yes, but it is a requirement of LGU”
In a press release on Wednesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said: “We are concerned about the many complaints related to the delayed processing of visitor requests, resulting in missed flights and disrupted travel schedules, especially of the share of leisure travelers seeking entry to the Municipality of Malay, which includes Boracay. Airlines will not allow passengers to board their flights to Caticlan unless they present their Aklan-issued QR codes.
This is the second time DOT has to intervene in travel issues involving Boracay, correcting the mistaken impression created by the previous Aklan LGU Executive Order, which implied that children were not allowed to travel to Boracay. . (See “Aklan Bans Unvaxed Teens from Boracay,” in BusinessMirror, November 15, 2021.) As of November 16, the province began accepting vaccination cards and official vaccination certificates as travel documents instead of requiring RT-PCR testing.
The DOT chief also pointed out that the handling of travel requirements for entry of domestic tourists falls under the remit of LGUs, not DOT. “We have contacted the relevant LGU and reiterated our position and call to streamline and simplify travel requirements for visitors – a critical component in ensuring the recovery of the island’s tourism industry and workforce. work that have been seriously affected by the ongoing Covid-. 19 pandemic, ”she said.
“While we understand the challenges and restrictions that hamper LGUs, we note the importance of facilitating in a timely manner such requests imposed on visitors by LGUs themselves,” said Romulo Puyat.
“We call on all LGUs to ensure that traveler requirements are streamlined and simplified. After all, the pace at which the industry can rebound from its losses will be largely determined by the policies that will be implemented by the national and local government, as well as the participation and cooperation of its tourism stakeholders and the traveling public ” , she said. .