TOURISM activities have been laid out for visitors from Ilocos Region.
On Friday, September 18, the City Government released guidelines for the anticipated tourism bubble between areas in the north and the city dubbed as “The Ridge and Reef (RnR)” travel corridor, covering provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.
The gradual opening of tourism is set in three phases that include Phase 1 as Intra-Corridor Travel aimed to be completed in two months; Phase 2 for the expanded travel corridor projected months after the launch; and Phase 3 as the sub-national inter-travel projected after three months of the launch.
Engineer Alex Mapalo, Baguio tourism officer, said the city is ready for the launching of the tourism bubble on September 22, gradually opening the city for tourism.
Specific areas covered in Ilocos Region allowed to travel for leisure in Baguio City in La Union are San Juan, Bauang and San Gabriel; Manaoag, Alaminos City and Bolinao in Pangasinan; Vigan, Bantay and Caoayan in Ilocos Sur and Badoc, Currimao, Paoay, Batac, Laoag, Pasuiquin, Burgos, Bangui, Pagudpod, Adams, Sarrat and Vintar for Ilocos Norte.
The types of tours organized include five-day tours featuring mini-circuits within provinces; pre-arranged “staycations” or “workstations” (work at hotels/resorts) with stays longer than five days; and weddings or small event destinations (less than five days), as arranged by Department of Tourism- (DOT-) accredited local tour operators assisted by DOT and local government unit tourism offices.
In the meantime, day tours (those not staying overnight) and do-it-yourself tours are not allowed.
For the initial period of the tourism corridor in Phase 1, travel for leisure will be restricted, generally allowing only those that are asymptomatic.
Not allowed to travel to the Baguio-Pangasinan-La Union-Ilocos Sur-Ilocos Norte (Blupisin) Travel Corridor are individuals aged 60 years of age and above (may be modified any time with the advice from medical and health agencies), pregnant women, individuals with existing high-risk health conditions and comorbidities such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, immunocompromised state, obesity, serious heart conditions, diabetes, asthma, cerebrovascular disease, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, neurologic conditions, liver disease, among others. Children who have medical complexity, neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions or who have congenital heart disease are also not allowed.
Tourists from outside Blupisin will be expanded during Phase 2 or 3.
Conditions include: a first-come-first-served basis; tourist registrants beyond the limit of 200 per day for Baguio City will not be allowed and 50 per day for Ilocos Region until the limit is modified or unless tourist registers another available travel dates.
Before travel, Covid-19 testing shall be using methods prescribed by the Department of Health guidelines with accredited testing centers from point of origin. Tests must be taken 24 to 48 hours before travel and subject to another test on the sixth day, especially if tourists stay longer. When available, with proper coordination with the destination tourism office, testing on-site upon arrival at entry processing centers will remain an option for tourists but with a required affidavit of undertaking, and the possibility of medical procedures at the expense of the tourist when Covid-19 test results turn out to be positive.
Tourists are advised to arrange travel with DOT-accredited tour operators or travel agents, confirming pre-arranged transportation (if not using private vehicle), itinerary and accommodation. Such tourism services must be by DOT-accredited establishments and were issued the necessary Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) by DOT and/or other concerned agencies. If intended travel is strictly for hotel/resort staycation only, tourists may book directly with hotels.
Each traveler of any age must also register an individual account online via the LGU destination’s Online Visitors Registration System (OVRS). The registration of minors should be assisted by a parent or legal guardian.
Each account must upload the following: Upon arrival to the city, documents will be presented in the Tourist One-Stop-Shop (Toss) or Triage and Testing Centers (TTC) in the borders or LGU-designated areas.
At the designated Toss or TTC, follow processes for validation of health declaration by health officers who will, if only necessary, recommend further tests, such as X-Ray and confirmatory Covid-19 tests.
For those who will undergo Covid-19 testing, tourists shall wait for results, depending on turnaround time, either at the Toss/TTC or at the hotel/accommodation in isolation. Tourist can only start their itinerary after negatives results are released. If results turn out to be positive, patients will be subjected to health protocols as per local health officers’ advice.
Upon clearance from the Toss or TTC, tourists will have an updated account profile in the OVRS so they can immediately proceed to their pre-booked hotel.
Complete guidelines can be viewed on the social media pages of the City Government and the City Tourism Office.