By Corina Oliquino

MANILA — The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) listed the Philippines as the 100th destination to receive its Safe Travels stamp, which launched three months ago and is the world’s first-ever global and safety hygiene stamp recognizing the adoption of global health and hygiene protocols.

WTTC, which represents the global Travel and Tourism private sector, said the stamp enables travelers “to recognize destinations around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardized protocols.”

“We welcome the Philippines, an incredible destination and home to some of the world’s most beautiful islands, as our 100th destination as well as other popular destinations around the globe such as Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia and Kenya,” WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said in a statement.

“The 100 destinations, which now proudly use the stamp, are working together to help rebuild consumer confidence worldwide,” Guevara added.

The stamp, developed to help restore confidence in travelers and work to revive the struggling sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic, was also backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and its launch embraced by over 200 CEOs including some of the world’s major tourism groups.

“We are delighted to see our innovative initiative is proving such a great success and is being used by destinations from all corners of the globe,” Guevara said, noting the success of the stamp shows its “importance not only to countries and destinations but to travelers and the 330 million people who work in and depend on the Travel and Tourism sector.

Major holiday destinations such as Maldives, Bermuda, Namibia, Uganda and Montenegro, as well as WTTC member countries, are now using the Safe Travels stamp.

In a report by Manila Bulletin, Department of Tourism (DOT) Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat thanked the WTTC for recognizing the efforts of her department in “putting place policies concerning health, safety and sanitation protocols.”

“The Philippine Department of Tourism is delighted to be awarded the WTTC Safe Travels stamp, particularly as we pursue the safe and gradual reopening of our tourist destinations,” Puyat said.

“The Safe Travels stamp will further encourage our stakeholders to adhere to health and safety standards and will also help us rebuild traveler confidence, so we can restart tourism and preserve and sustain jobs,” Puyat added.

The report also notes that the protocols set by WTTC follow guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adding the “widespread adoption of the stamp demonstrates that the organization and all its members from around the world have the safety and hygiene of travelers as their top priority.”

DOT rolled out list of open tourist sites in the country amid the pandemic on its website

In another report by BusinessMirror, the DOT on its Philippine Travel website ( listed open tourists sites in the country but most of those included are accessible only to tourists in the locality.

Last week, lawmakers hearing the 2021 budget proposal of the DOT requested a list of open travel destinations to be published.

According to the report, the only tourist sites generally open to the public were located in the Davao region including the Davao Crocodile Park and Eden Nature Park, Dahican Beach in Mati (Davao Oriental), Lake Leonard and Mt. Pattung/Sea of Clouds (Davao de Oro), and Samal Island and Tagum City (Davao del Norte).

Tarlac’s El Kabayo Riding Stables and the golf course at the Luisita Golf and Country Club are also open for tourists.

Several tourism establishments in the Clark free port and golf courses in Pampanga, along with the famous Bacolor Church and Bataan’s Las Casas de Acuzar are also open to tourists from general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ areas.

On September 13, photos on social media of the traffic jam going to Tagaytay caused confusion on who are allowed to do leisure travel as the city is only allowed to accept visitors from MGCQ areas with health certificates or travel passes.