A NEW tourism corridor is preparing to open in the midst of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
A memorandum of understanding of support was signed by Ilocos Sur Second District Representative Kristine Singson Mehan, Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr., Ilocos Norte Governor Mathew Marcos Manotoc and Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson, who all agreed to partner with Baguio City to create “tourism bubbles” and carefully crafted package tours that are in accordance to health protocols.
The MOU is an expression of mutual support and understanding, expansion of official and non-governmental exchanges and friendship through the promotion of tourism and stability with the City of Baguio, Provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte (Blupisin).
Terms of the agreement include the conduct of research in areas that would be beneficial among the Blupisin, particularly but not limited to the possible creation of a Baguio–Region 1 Tourism corridor, featuring the natural, cultural and creative pride of place of each zone to cultivate interests in would-be travels.
The agreement also aims to "foster the establishment of green lanes to tourists to promote safe travel and seamless interconnectivity of land voyage in respective territorial jurisdictions, subject however to various health and safety protocols set by the Department of Health, Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, local government authorities and other governing bodies."
The MOU signed September 1 also explores the possibility of a unified border check protocol to promote faster and more convenient journey to the Blupisin tourist destinations.
The MOU was signed by Department of Tourism Secretary Benadette Romulo Puyat, Tourism Promotions Board Chief Operating Officer Maria Antoinette Velasco Allones, Task Force on Domestic Tourism Product and Market Development administrator and chairperson Guiller Asido, Baguio Tourism Council chair Gladys Vergara–De Vera, Department of Tourism (DOT)–Cordillera Administrative Region Officer-In-Charge Jovita Ganongan and DOR-Ilocos Region Director Joseph Francisco Ortega.
Careful and strategic tours as well as guidelines are now being finalized and synched with the Provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte for the exchange, which is set to be launched September 21.
Health protocols will be included in the Blupisin travel with testing, social distancing and crowd control measures to be readied.
The Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (Visita) application will be used to register and approve incoming tourists in the planned partial opening of tourism to the four areas.
Baguio Visita will accommodate a controlled number of tourists per day. Proposed protocols for tourists include mandatory pre-registration, pre-booking of accommodation through accredited tour operators and declaration of itineraries.
Tourist movement will be closely monitored by a tour operator and hotel management in all areas.