Baguio tourism re­opens Oc­to­ber

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - NATION - BY RAYMART T. LOLO AND ALDWIN QUITASOL @tri­bunephl_lolo

The Sum­mer Cap­i­tal of the Philip­pines will al­low vis­i­tors from the Ilo­cos Re­gions be­gin­ning 1 Oc­to­ber.

In a vir­tual press con­fer­ence on Tues­day, Baguio City Mayor Ben­jamin Ma­ga­long Jr. said tourism ac­tiv­i­ties will ini­tially open only to reg­is­tered “guided tours” for Baguio and North Lu­zon res­i­dents.

DIY (do it your­self) tourists and vis­i­tors from other re­gions, in­clud­ing Metro Manila, are still not al­lowed.

In line with the most-awaited re­open­ing, Baguio launched Baguio Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion and Travel As­sis­tance (V.I.S.I.T.A.) that will keep track of vis­i­tor ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­tect tourists and the com­mu­ni­ties.

The dig­i­tal plat­form will fea­ture ac­count and travel reg­is­tra­tion, pay­ments, QR (Quick Re­sponse) read­ing, ad­vi­sories and tourism in­for­ma­tion, real-time mon­i­tor­ing of vis­i­tor pro­files, sites vis­ited, re­quire­ments and vis­i­tor cri­te­ria.

Mo­bile app V.I.S.I.T.A. will have real-time no­ti­fi­ca­tions and can be used as a travel guide and as­sis­tance por­tal.

The Depart­ment of Tourism (DoT) pro­vided the tech­nol­ogy to Baguio through the Tourism Pro­mo­tions Board in sup­port of the city’s grad­ual re­open­ing to tourists start­ing with the Ridge and Reef Cor­ri­dor Plan.

Un­der the Ridge to Reef travel bub­ble, Baguio City will al­low 200 vis­i­tors per day to pre­vent over­crowd­ing.

Ilo­cos Norte will also open Paoay and Pagud­pud towns; Ilo­cos Sur will of­fer Vi­gan City; La Union will have Bauang ac­cept­ing vis­i­tors; and Pan­gasi­nan’s Manaoag and Boli­nao will also be avail­able to tourists.

No stopover is al­lowed within La Union, Pan­gasi­nan and Benguet. Be­fore reach­ing Baguio, ve­hi­cles will pass through Tuba and Sablan towns in Benguet.

DoT Re­gion 1 di­rec­tor Jeff Ortega said in­door mu­se­ums are still closed for the mean­time. How­ever, vis­i­tors who wish to visit Ilo­cos may still en­joy other ac­tiv­i­ties such as sand­board­ing in Ilo­cos Norte, surf­ing in La Union and pil­grim­age in Pan­gasi­nan.

DoT Sec­re­tary Ber­nadette Ro­mulo-Puyat said that once Metro Manila is placed un­der the mod­i­fied gen­eral com­mu­nity quar­an­tine, tourists from the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion will be al­lowed to en­ter.

“I am pray­ing for the Ridge and Reef Travel Cor­ri­dor’s suc­cess, as it will prove to lo­cal trav­el­ers that in­ter-re­gional tourism can be done safely, re­spon­si­bly, and sus­tain­ably,” she said. “As con­fi­dence in trav­el­ing lo­cally grows, we hope to em­u­late its suc­cess in many other ar­eas around the coun­try, giv­ing us valu­able mo­men­tum for our push to­wards the tourism in­dus­try’s re­cov­ery.”

PHO­TO­GRAPH COUR­TESY OF BAGUIO PIO

TEST­ING czar Sec­re­tary Vince Di­zon and Baguio Mayor and con­tact trac­ing head Ben­jamin Ma­ga­long, Jr. lead Bik­ing Day at Burn­ham Park on Sun­day. They cov­ered a to­tal dis­tance of 20 kilo­me­ters around the city.

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