January 29, 2023

The province of Benguet is considering an inter-town tourism program to revive its travel and tourism industry.

Gov. Melchor Diclas said he has requested the mayors to open their tourism sites to Benguet residents.

At present, concerned elected and tourism officials and other stakeholders are still preparing the provincial and municipal tourism guidelines under the new normal.

Diclas said they are closely coordinating with the Department of Tourism on protocols including the agency’s pre-booking application tools, such as the Baguio Visitors Information and Travel Assistance or the Visita platform.

The platform was developed with the help of the Tourism Promotions Board under DOT in line with Ridge to Reef Tourism Corridor between Baguio and the provinces of Region 1.

“We need to dry run all of these preparations before implementation so we could slowly open our travel and tourism,” Diclas said.

The governor acknowledged the opening of tourism is one of the means of livelihood for Benguet. He, however, said the provincial government must take precautions due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Municipalities such as La Trinidad, Tublay, and Itogon have opened selected tourism sites but only for local residents.

Only three eco parks in La Trinidad have been granted a certificate of compliance to operate, which are the Mt. Kalugong in Barangay Cruz, Mt. Costa in Puguis, and Avong Nen Romy in Wangal.

La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda said preparations must still be made while observing the initial results of opening up tourism in Baguio.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan has signified his town’s intention to coordinate with Baguio to allow part of the town’s sites to be part of the city’s tourism circuit. 

Itogon will soon open its trekking sites such as Mt. Ulap, Mt. Bidawan, Mt. Pigingan, and Mt. Ugo. – Ofelia C. Empian

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