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LEISURE TRAVEL NOW ALLOWED

Aurora opens beaches, nature attractions to vaccinated visitors

/ 05:04 AM November 18, 2021

WAVE CHALLENGE The Aurora capital of Baler, dubbed the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, is a major destination for surfers in search of the best wave to ride. The province has reopened to leisure travelers amid its declining COVID-19 infections. —RODELLE SANDAGAN/Contributor

The province of Aurora has started allowing fully vaccinated tourists from areas with relaxed community quarantine status to visit the beaches and other attractions in the province, local officials said.

In an executive order issued on Monday, Gov. Gerardo Noveras said the eased travel restrictions covered tourists from provinces and cities under alert levels 1 and 2, or under general community quarantine and modified general community quarantine without heightened restrictions.

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Noveras’ order has voided the previous rule by the provincial government that required tourists to present negative results of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction or antigen tests at the borders.

But the entry of fully vaccinated tourists would still be subjected to restrictions prescribed by local governments in the province, he said.

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Entry points

The governor had authorized barangay and municipal officials to impose necessary restrictions subject to the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), other government agencies, and the provincial government.

According to Noveras, tourists age 12 and above must present vaccination certificates issued by the Department of Health while children 11 years old and below are required to present medical certificates as proof of their physical fitness.

He said tourists would be allowed to enter the province through control points at Canili in Barangay San Juan in Maria Aurora town, Calaocan in Dipaculao town, and Tanauan in Dingalan town.

All tourists are also required to register online with the provincial government’s S-Pass and have a confirmed booking with an accommodation facility that is accredited by the Department of Tourism, prior to the approval of their tour application.

Aurora, which is popular among beachgoers and surfers, received 1,291,822 tourists in 2019, according to data of the provincial tourism office.

Prior to the pandemic, Aurora had 293 lodges and resorts that catered to tourists, with at least 175 of these located in the capital Baler. The local government earned over P35 million from service and business taxes mostly from tourism-related establishments in 2019.

The province was placed under alert level 2, the second least restrictive status, from Nov. 15 to Nov. 30, by the IATF.

—JUN A. MALIG

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TAGS: Aurora tourism, COVID-19 travel restrictions
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