Baguio City Clarifies It Will Welcome Tourists From Ilocos Region By October 1

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BAGUIO CITY (September 23, 2020) – Baguio City will only welcome tourists from the Ilocos Region starting October 1 to pave the way for the sure, safe and responsible opening of the local tourism industry.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that the decision to move back the entry of tourists availing of the guided tours was reached to allow the city to make the needed adjustments on the technical issues on its online registration platform and observe the developments of the outbreak of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 cases in two barangays.

Though the registration of interested visitors through the Baguio Visitors Information and Travel Assistance (VISTA) platform will continue after the tourism bubble was launched Tuesday at the Baguio Convention Center (BCC) with Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo Puyat as guest.

Magalong said the outbreak of COVID cases in Slaughterhouse Compound and Lourdes Subdivision Extension late last week was a cause of concern that compelled him to declare a hard lockdown in the said barangays to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus among the residents living in the said areas.

Initially,  200 registrants in the Baguio VISITA platform can be accommodated in the city starting October 1, 2020 where the same will be assessed on a day to day basis to ascertain the capacity of the tourism industry stakeholders to handle the influx of tourists.

The Baguio VISTA online registration platform was established through the assistance of the Tourism Promotions Board (TBP), one of the attached agencies of the Department of Tourism (DOT) that is in charge of the marketing and promotions of tourism in the different parts of the country.

Magalong explained that the guidelines that were crafted for the opening of the local tourism industry is dynamic because it could change anytime depending on the situation that will transpire in the course of time that tourists will be coming to the city since e the primordial consideration is the safety of both the residents and the visitors.

On Baguio’s 111th charter day anniversary on September 1, 2020, provincial chief executives of Baguio, La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte forged  a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the establishment of the Baguio-Region I tourism corridor that will help in safely, cautiously and gradually opening the tourism industry as part of the overall initiative of the participating local governments to revive the economy of the said places.

The 3-phased tourism endeavor will start with interested travelers from the local governments that are involved in the corridor before it will be gradually and cautiously be opened to visitors coming from Regions II and III, and eventually opened up for tourists coming from the different parts of the country probably by the end of the year.

Magalong maintained that daytime and do it yourself (DIY) tours will still not be allowed during the opening of the tourism industry because what is being avoided is the possible spread of the deadly virus in the city and the places that will be visited by the tourists, thus, guided tours is the way to go in opening up the industry.

-Artemio Dumlao