The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Eastern Visayas has assisted 13 stranded European tourists in catching their Cebu-Manila sweeper flight.
With the help of local government units, tourists left Hilongos port in Leyte for a special trip to Bohol then to Cebu City. They were flown to Manila on Sunday for their repatriation flight back to their respective countries, said DOT Eastern Visayas Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes.
“After over a month of being in Eastern Visayas due to the enhanced community quarantine, these stranded Europeans left the region for their sweeper and repatriation flights home. This was made possible through the smooth collaboration and with the support of our ever-reliable industry partners,” Tiopes said.
She thanked local government units and national government agencies that helped ensure the stranded tourists would catch their sweeper flight.
Those who extended their assistance are the provincial governments of Eastern Samar, Samar and Southern Leyte, the cities of Tacloban and Maasin, and the town of Hilongos in Leyte.
The land and sea travel arrangements of the tourists were in coordination with the DOT, Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Health, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The 13 Europeans are just a fraction of the 87 stranded foreign tourists in the region documented by the tourism department since the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic disrupted global travel.
When the government imposed travel restrictions, the DOT recorded 41 stranded tourists in Leyte province, 26 in Southern Leyte, 10 in Samar, four in Northern Samar, four in Eastern Samar, and two in Biliran.
These tourists include Americans, Germans, Australians, British, Swedish, Finish, Italian, Norwegian, French, Canadian, Australian, Belgian, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Indian and Irish.
Last March 25, the DOT assisted the first batch of stranded tourists composed of 57 individuals through a Tacloban-Manila sweeper flight of Cebu Pacific.
Aside from foreign tourists, 42 stranded domestic tourists are still in Allen, Northern Samar; Calbayog City and Zumarraga in Samar; and the cities of Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte. (PNA)