The Philippine city of Baguio is now welcoming tourists from the four nearby provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan and La Union, with a clear set of reopening guidelines.
Electronic monitoring, paperless transactions, limited access points and pitstops are meant to make the trip hassle-free while closely keeping tab of tourists’ itineraries to minimise their exposure as well as those of the residents’.
In a webinar on the reopening of Baguio City’s tourism, tourism operations officer Alec Mapalo said only 200 tourists would be allowed on any given day for a maximum five-day stay, coming from Region 1 (Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan).
Mapalo also said that before the trip, every tourist should explore and arrange the visit with Department of Tourism-accredited tour operators and travel agencies, and learn safety protocols and guidelines; get Covid-19 swab test or rapid antigen test at least 48 hours before the trip; and register and create a multiple-use account with digital monitoring app Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance.
Three required documents – confirmed itinerary issued by tour operator or travel agency; hotel booking receipt, and Covid-19 negative test result from an accredited testing laboratory – should be provided and once confirmed, printed or stored on the tourist’s cellphone along with the QR coded Tourist Pass QTP that is issued by the city.
The QTP is presented to the triage, checkpoints, and for every entry and exit in the hotel to monitor the tourist’s movement.
Depending on the results of this arrangement, Mapalo said the city might expand the travel corridor by accommodating tourists from the same category of risk level (modified general community quarantine or MGCQ), excluding metro Manila which remains on general community quarantine (GCQ), beyond Luzon and even from Visayas and Mindanao.
In this phase, entry point for air travel is Laoag International Airport while access for land travel are Baguio and Pangasinan.
Mapalo said Laoag may even start accessing foreign travel depending on the results.
Correction: In our original post, we wrote that tourists are required to log into the online visitor management platform VISITA. That is a mistake. Baguio relies on a different programme, named Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance.