City residents wanting to visit the different tourist destinations in the Ilocos Region can start looking into tour packages that will fit their available budget during the upcoming North Luzon travel fair set on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 in the city.
Supervising City Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo informed members of the Baguio Tourism Council (BTC) during its expanded meeting last Friday that tourism officers from the proposed Baguio-Region I tourism corridor agreed to make use of the said date to announce the date when the Ilocos provinces will be open to accept visitors from Baguio and the promote their proposed tour packages for the ‘Ridge to Reef Baguio-Ilocos Tours.’
In the case of Baguio, Mapalo said that September 21, 2020 will be the launching of the Baguio Visitors Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) online registration platform and the acceptance of registrants from Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte on their proposed date of visit and itinerary to the city.
Earlier, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat committed to attend the formal opening of the Baguio-Region I tourism bubble on the aforesaid date to help in aggressively promoting domestic tourism in low risk areas to contribute in the overall efforts of local governments to revive the heavily impacted economy in their areas of jurisdiction.
Mapalo disclosed that the final guidelines that will be implemented during the opening of the Baguio-Ilocos Region tourism bubble will be published the soonest as part of the aggressive information and education campaign that will be done to entice visitors from the local governments within the bubble to schedule their visits to their desired tourist destinations.
Initially, he claimed that Pangasinan will be opening Manaoag and Bolinao for visitors within the bubble, La Union will be offering Bauang, Ilocos Sur will be opening up Vigan City while Ilocos Norte will be making available for visitors Laoag City, Paoay and Pagudpud for interested visitors.
Among the proposed guidelines that will be commonly implemented in the bubble include the need for the prospective tourists to have their visits handled by duly accredited travel agencies and tour operators, visitors must undergo either anti-gen or reverse transcription polymerase (RT-PCR) tests from their points of origin that will be valid for 5 days and that additional days of stay in the tourist destinations require them to undergo similar tests in the places where they were stalled; there must be pre-bookings in hotels and other accommodation establishments aside from online registration.
The city tourism officer will be meeting with local travel agencies and tour operators to deliberate on the affordable and feasible tour packages that Baguio will be offering to interested visitors while the tourism officers of other provinces in Region I will be doing the same in time for the scheduled travel fair for the appreciation of people wanting to move around amidst the prevailing community quarantine and even under close monitoring by the local governments interested to ease up on tourism.
He added that limited number of visitors from Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte might be visiting the city by the end of the month or as early as 3 days after the launching of the Baguio VISITA online registration platform as the city tourism office had already been receiving numerous inquiries on when the city will be open for tourists.
By Dexter A. See