March 27, 2023

Tourism Sec. Bernadette Puyat has announced last week the agency is looking into more open-air tour packages as a way to reboot the travel and tourism sector as the country transitions to the new normal.
“The new tourism product that people are looking for is the open air,” Puyat said during the launching of the Ridge to Reef Travel Corridor’ at the Baguio Convention Center on Sept. 22. Open-air tourism are activities held outdoors in a natural setting. Studies show that the risk of being infected with Covid-19 is higher in an enclosed space. With the launching of theRidge to Reef Travel Corridor’, which initially includes Baguio and Region 1 to reboot travel and tourism in northern Luzon, Puyat said they have also met with officials of Benguet and Ifugao, who are also amenable to the idea of opening their doors for tourism.
Puyat said Benguet has a lot to offer when it comes to open air tourism such as the agri-eco farms and adventure sites. These include the scenic vegetable farms, caves, and mountains in the province.
“There are so many tourism products pero lahat na ini-isa isa naming kinakausap ang mgalocal government units,” she said.
She said they coordinated with LGUs with low Covid-19 cases and will look at the availability of facilities, and the openness of the stakeholder in reviving tourism.  
“We are looking at all these circuits, nakausap ko na din po ang mayors ng Benguet at saka ang governor ng Ifugao.All of them are looking at what is happening in Baguio and they are also opening up certain tourist sites for the locals,” she said.
Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas, meanwhile, said they are in the process of crafting the guidelines for tourism in the province.
League of Municipalities Benguet chapter president and Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said a meeting with the mayors is scheduled on Sept. 30.
Palangdan said the decision to reopen tourism in the province will include all the 13 municipalities of Benguet, not only limited to the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay area. – Ofelia C. Empian