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Stricter guidelines await visitors once Baguio reopens for tourism

/ 05:02 AM August 06, 2020

COPS IN THE PARK Burnham Park’s lake, popular among tourists for its boat rides, has not seen visitors since March when Baguio City stopped tourism-related activities. In July, the lake hosted a boat parade during a flag-raising ceremony held there by the city government and the Cordillera and Baguio police offices. —EV ESPIRITU

BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines — Should this city reopen to visitors in September as planned, tourists must inform the city government ahead of their trips, pay for coronavirus tests, and prepare to be isolated.

The city tourism industry has started using a quarantine-regulated surveillance system to prepare for the expected influx of tourists, according to Jovita Ganongan, director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Cordillera.

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Reviving Baguio

Based on a DOT survey in May, Baguio is among the top three destinations that Filipinos intend to visit once restrictions on travel and recreation are eased. The other two are the islands of Siargao and Boracay.

But drawing back domestic tourists will require the activation of the visitor information and travel assistance (Visita) digital mechanism this month. Visita will keep track of guests who are cleared to enter Baguio by requiring them to sign up and declare their itinerary online after securing accommodations.

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Visitors must submit to triage and pay for their own reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, according to guidelines released on Tuesday. They should expect to remain isolated at their hotels while awaiting laboratory results.

Because of the quarantine, the city will restrict the number of guests each day.

The city tourism office and the private sector-led Baguio Tourism Council (BTC) are promoting the city as one of the safest places in the country, beginning with the “Angat Baguio” (Revive Baguio) drive.

Baguio’s art and entertainment sector has scheduled a series of activities focused on the “Akyat Baguio” (Come up to Baguio), according to a BTC concept plan. The pandemic has displaced 4,000 tourism sector workers, including artists and performers.

Under the BTC plan, tourism-oriented businesses will abide by the “continuing observance and strict enforcement of health and occupational safety protocols as the basic strategy in preventing transmission and infection.”

—Vincent Cabreza

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TAGS: Akyat Baguio, Baguio quarantine protocls, Baguio Tourism, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19
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