Ilocos Norte launches test run of bus tours amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Ilocos Norte has launched test runs of limited bus tours within the province to help the local tourism industry recover amid the coronavirus pandemic, Senator Imee Marcos said on Monday.
Marcos said the province is eyeing to expand the program within the “tourism bubble” of Ilocos Region and Cordillera, but noted that it might not be open yet to tourists from Metro Manila and other provinces with a high number of COVID-19 cases.
Under the program, Marcos said that tourists will board the buses with several stops like restaurants.
“The rest of the time nandoon lang sila sa bus, naka-social distancing at may pagkain na din doon para at least kahit papaano umiikot pa rin ang tourism pesos,” she said in a press conference.
(For the rest of the time, they will just stay inside the bus while observing social distancing. Food will also be served there. In that way, the tourism pesos will still circulate.)
“We tried a little bit. We are going to be running some buses in the next couple of weeks at titingnan namin kung okay nga ba at safe (we’ll see if operations will be okay and if it will really be safe),” she also said.
Marcos, who served as Ilocos Norte governor before becoming senator, said the provincial government had to reopen tourism especially with tourism-dependent micro, small, medium enterprises already reeling from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The senator also noted that most tourist spots in the province are located outdoors which could be an advantage to boost the industry despite the COVID-19 crisis.
Marcos’s son Matthew Manotoc is currently the governor in Ilocos Norte.
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