Subsidized antigen test for tourists in Baguio underway

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Tourists who are allowed to have leisure travel to the city will be provided with subsidized antigen test courtesy of the State-owned Tourism Promotions board (TPB) and the local government to entice prospective visitors to visit the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.

Supervising City Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius C. Mapalo said that to date only 2,000actual visitors to the city were able to avail of the subsidized antigen test since the city started implementing the same last June 7, 2021.

He disclosed that registered tourists that have been given the go-signal by the city to come up should present in the central triage their QR-coded tourist pass (QTP) and their confirmed booking from accredited tourism establishments where they will spend their stay.

Earlier, the local government was able to acquire from the TPB some P1.8 million financial assistance to help in aggressively promoting the city’s tourism industry that was heavily impacted by the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to allow its supposed gradual and safe revival that will boost the overall government efforts towards economic recovery.

Mapalo claimed that there are still some 10,000 visitors that could be provided with the subsidized antigen test based on the funds that are still available for the said purpose, thus, interested individuals wanting to spend their well-deserved break in the city should already register with the city’s online registration platform, visita-baguio.gov.ph, for them to schedule their visit the soonest to be able to avail of the said promotion.

From the regular P500 being charged for those that will have their antigen test in the city’s central triage, he stipulated that the subsidized antigen test for tourists will only be P350 which will be on a first come first serve basis.

The city tourism official revealed that the regular P500 per test will be charged to tourists once the allocated subsidy will be exhausted in the coming weeks.

According to him, since the city started accepting tourists from the National Capital Region (NCR) plus bubble, tourist arrivals in the city started to drastically increase where there were some 2,998 visitors that came up to the city from June 1-13, 2021 compared to the more than 1,400 documented visitors that spent their vacation in the city for the whole month of May.

He expressed hope that with the easing up of the community quarantine status of the NCR plus bubble, there will be a significant increase in tourist arrivals in the coming weeks as most of the tourists that usually come up to the city for leisure, business and other related activities come from the said area.

Under existing protocols, tourists that have been allowed to visit the city should present a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or antigen test aside from their QR-coded tourist pass and confirmed bookings from accredited hotels and transient houses in the city.

Mapalo asserted that there is really a need for the local tourism industry to start somewhere as tourism-related businesses have suffered tremendous losses for over a year since the implementation of various levels of community quarantine to contain the spread of the deadly virus. By Dexter A. See

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