The vacation in place (VIP) model being employed by the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) will mean that as the tourism sector reopens, some industry businesses, such as tour operators, will not have the opportunity to reopen as quickly as others, Tourism Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Janet Johnson said yesterday, adding that the TDC is working to ensure these businesses understand the process and that they are able to get back to business as quickly as possible.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar introduced the idea of VIP on Monday during a virtual press conference. He said the MOTA chose to use the phrase as opposed to the word “quarantine” to describe what tourists will be required to do when they come into the country. It will mean that tourists will be limited to what they can do on their respective properties and will have very limited access to excursions.
Johnson assured that the MOTA is doing what it can to move the process along “as fast as possible” while taking into account the need to open safely while still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are some stakeholders who have to wait a little longer because the VIP is a bubble of sorts and so there are some tour operators who won’t be able to participate just now,” she said.
“But we’re trying to make sure they understand that we’re working toward everyone being able to participate in the space again and to do it as safely as possible.
“It’s a very trying time, but we are working very assiduously to get things done to make sure that everyone will be comfortable and able to benefit from the tourism dollar in the long run.”
Johnson said many tour operators have been understanding of the circumstances, despite the slow process.
“Obviously if you have a business, it’s a bit difficult if you’ve been waiting and waiting and then you see the opening coming and you still have to wait,” she said.
“But they’re coming around to understanding that as more and more of them are able to participate in the space. It’s a slow process and they understand that.”