Visiting El Nido during the pandemic will soon be possible for more visitors from outside the province, the Department of Tourism (DOT) confirmed on 24 Oct 2020.
Conforming to a test-before-travel policy, those who wish to travel to the sought-after beach destination can do so beginning 30 Oct 2020. This will mark El Nido’s second phase of its travel bubble, which started late August 2020 at just El Nido Resorts on Miniloc Island.
“We thank and congratulate the provincial and local government officials and tourism stakeholders of Palawan for moving on to the second phase of El Nido’s travel bubble,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during a meeting with Palawan officials last week.
What to do before visiting El Nido during the pandemic
To qualify for entry, tourists must prove that they are first safe to travel by submitting negative RT-PCR test results. You must take the test at least 72 hours before your departure to El Nido.
RT-PCR tests may be taken at any accredited hospital or medical facility closest to you. Expect to pay between ₱4,000 to ₱13,000.
You must also have a confirmed round-trip ticket to your point of destination in Palawan. AirSwift currently offers flights to El Nido that depart from their private hangar near Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 4, arriving at Lio Airport in Barangay Villa Libertad.
Depending on your airline, provide accomplished health and safety forms, too. In the case of Philippine Airlines, you should also submit a filled-out Passenger Profile and Health Declaration Form at least three days prior to your trip.
How El Nido tourism is doing and what to expect
Voted as one of the world’s best islands time and again, El Nido has been envisioned by Puyat to be part of the tourism industry’s rebirth from the pandemic. According to DOT, it has caused 5,997 travel workers to lose their jobs and ₱3.2 billion worth of visitor receipts.
Through inspections since July 2020, Puyat said that there are currently nine establishments in El Nido that have a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO). Meanwhile, 27 more have a Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO) from the DOT.
“After successfully complying with the protocols set by the DOT, the El Nido Resorts was the first tourism establishment in Palawan to obtain a CAO and to reopen its doors to tourists from outside the province through the travel bubble strategy,” added DOT’s official announcement about reopening El Nido during the pandemic.
Along with Palawan’s local government, DOT is continuously making efforts to “increase visitor confidence and awareness about Palawan’s preparedness in terms of medical services and facilities, as well as emergency response protocols.”
To know which other Philippine airports are now accepting commercial flights to El Nido amid the pandemic, you can visit the official Facebook pages of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.