Baguio City is set to reopen its doors to tourists coming from the Ilocos Region starting tomorrow, Oct. 1.
The city however will welcome tourists again despite having an increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases within just a week, according to Jonathan Andal’s report on “24 Oras” Wednesday.
As of Sept. 22, Baguio had 200 cases, but on Sept. 29, the number more than doubled to 425 cases.
Despite this development, the reopening will continue, according to City Administrator Boni dela Peña.
“Tuloy pa rin ang opening natin sa tourism,” he said. “Actually we are 100% ready to accept tourists,” he added.
“Umakyat ang kaso natin, we know it came from certain area na na-contain naman so we know the source and we know kung saan nagspre-spread ’yung area,” he explained.
According to the Baguio Public Information Office, the city has a total of 915 COVID-19 cases, with 425 active ones, 478 recoveries, and 12 deaths as of Sept. 29.
Dos and don’ts for tourists
Prospective guests must create an account on the Baguio Visita website and book a travel agent and accommodations beforehand.
They should take a swab or antigen test 48 to 72 hours before their planned visit.
They also need to upload the required documents on the website.
Once approved, they will receive a QR-coded travel pass, which they will need to show at checkpoints and upon checking in. This will also help officials in contact tracing.
On their way to Baguio, tourists can only pass through Naguilian Road or Marcos Highway.
Staying at relatives’ and friends’ homes are prohibited, and gatherings should be coordinated with local authorities for proper monitoring.
There is also no public transportation yet within the city so visitors must have their own private vehicles.
Tourists are also not allowed to go to markets and must ask their tour guide or hotel to do the purchases for them.
A strict 10 p.m. curfew will also be imposed.
City officials have given assurance that tourists are safe because areas with rising COVID-19 cases have been locked down.
Meanwhile, travel agency bookings cost between Php1,250 and Php6,890, depending on the length of stay and number of guests.
Visitors are also not required to be accompanied by their tour guide at all times, “as long as there is coordination, there is constant communication, the tour guide knows where you are,” said Baguio tourism officer Alex Mapalo.
Only tourists from the Ilocos Region are allowed to go to Baguio starting tomorrow, but by mid-October, Baguio will open its doors to visitors from Regions 2 and 3.
In November, Baguio plans to welcome more tourists, including those from Metro Manila and other regions. – Kaela Malig/RC, GMA News