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SAGADA, Mountain Province – The municipal government started to gradually and safely open the mystical town’s tourism industry as part of the ongoing efforts to revive the heavily impacted economy but the same will still be subject to the implementation of stringent restrictions.
Mayor James Pooten disclosed that as a start, there will only be 300 tourists that will be allowed to enter the municipality daily to ensure their compliance to the enforcement of the minimum public health standards.
However, he disclosed that prospective visitors must first register with the town’s umali kayo online registration platform, umali-kayo.sagada.gov.ph, and online booking for their accommodations in establishments that had been accredited by the tourism department to ensure that they will comply with the implementation of existing restrictions in the municipality.
The town’s registration portal will be open from 8 am to 4 pm daily to accommodate the interested registrants for their scheduled visit to the locality.
He explained that unvaccinated tourists must present their negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results taken 72 hours prior to their scheduled travel while vaccinated visitors are required to present their vaccination card or certificate indicating full vaccination.
Moreover over, tourists are required to present a minimum of one-night booking in an accredited establishment and local government certified accommodation establishment where bookings must be made at least 2 days prior to their arrival in the municipality.
According to the guidelines for the entry of tourists, the visitors must be on board a personal or private vehicle when visiting Sagada and they must be 18 to 65 years old as per the rules that had been crafted by the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases to those who are allowed to be out of their residences.
Mayor Pooten urged interested visitors to strictly comply with the standing regulations to ensure that they will enjoy their visit to the different tourist spots in the municipality and for them to be able to share their good experiences to entice more people to visit the locality in the coming days once the situation will improve.
He admitted that the municipal government and the concerned tourism industry stakeholders had been working hard to put into operation the online registration platform to ensure that the number of tourists visiting the municipality will be regulated to avoid the occurrence of untoward incidents that might cause a surge in Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 cases that might cause the local health system to be compromised and unduly stress the frontliners.
Sagada is one of the premier tourist destinations in the Cordillera because of its natural tourist attractions like the caves, waterfalls, rice terraces and other tourist spots that compliment the town’s cool weather that serves as a natural pull for foreign and domestic visitors.
Pooten stipulated that the rules on tourist arrivals in the city will remain dynamic because of the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant and that the enforcement of the same will still be on a case to case basis until the situation normalizes. By HENT