Baguio City has reopened its borders for tourists but limited to those coming from areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ to ensure safe recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry.
The city government through Executive Order 50-A, s. 2021 issued by Mayor Benjamin Magalong allowed the entry of tourists from GCQ and MGCQ areas effective April 16 with approved QR-coded Tourist Pass (QTP) from the online registration platform https://visita.baguio.gov.ph.
Tourists from high-risk areas, particularly those under modified enhanced community quarantine and Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal also known as the NCR plus, are not yet allowed to enter Baguio for leisure purposes.
City Tourism Supervising Administrative Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo reminded those planning to visit Baguio on the health protocols implemented by the government to control the spread of the Covid-2019.
He said pre-registration at the online platform Visita to generate a QTP is required with a valid ID and a negative Covid-19 test result conducted at least 72 hours prior to entry to Baguio or can be conducted onsite at the central triage of the city.
The city government offers P500 antigen test at the Baguio Convention Center for non-residents of Baguio entering the city.
Mapalo said all tourists are mandated to undergo triage checkup to ensure they do not have symptoms of Covid-19 aside from a negative test result.
“If found symptomatic and having positive test result at the triage, the tourist will be isolated depending on the recommendation of our triage doctors or will be sent back home,” Mapalo said.
A maximum limit of 3,000 tourists per day was set by the city government, but Mapalo said data from the Visita platform shows Baguio is not even reaching 1,000 registrations daily, which may be attributed to the required negative test result.
He said those who pre-registered at the Visita do not necessarily arrive in Baguio.
“Tourist arrivals peaked sometime in March, particularly that weekend when we announced that negative test result is no longer required, where we had over 6,000 registrations but only half arrived. This was also the time that we were overwhelmed at the triage dahil sabay-sabay dumating at nakapila lahat sa triage,” Mapalo said.
When negative test result was required again, tourist registration dwindled to less than 5,000 but only 20 percent of the registrants pushed through with their travel to Baguio.
“Tourist arrival decreased steadily after that, especially during the implementation of the travel restriction from the NCR plus bubble since March 22,” Mapalo said.
While the Lenten season is the peak tourism arrival in Baguio with over 100,000 visitors, Mapalo said 2020 and 2021 recorded zero tourists during the observance of the Holy Week.
With the reopening of borders to tourists from GCQ and MGCQ areas, Baguio had 20 tourists who arrived on April 17 and another 20 on April 18.
Mapalo said for next week, his office already has noted pre-registration of 700 tourists.
“Our total arrivals since October 2020 when we allowed tourists up to March 2021 is 61,574. We peaked last March at 24,000,” Mapalo said. – Jessa P. Samidan