February 23, 2024

Baguio City is set to reopen to tourists by September amidst rising number of Covid-19 cases.
City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo and the Public Information Office posted last week the interim guidelines in the reopening of Baguio.
The guidelines were the product of consultation with stakeholders in the tourism industry and the Department of Tourism, according to Mapalo in an interview aired over a local radio station last Aug. 5.
Mapalo said the guidelines could still change depending on the suggestions gathered from the public through the city government’s social media accounts.
In the guidelines, tourists will be required to pre-register through the Baguio Visita online registration system; tourists should have a pre-booked accommodation preferably through accredited tour operators, and they should have an itinerary of places to visit.
Upon entry in Baguio, tourists will undergo triage and PCR testing to be shouldered by them. They will also be required to stay in their accommodation facility until results of the PCR come out (at most nine hours), before going around the city.
Tour operators and hotel managements, were also directed to monitor movement of tourists.
For tour operators and hotels, the City Tourism and Special Events Office (CTSEO) stressed that only those with DOT-issued certificate of authority to operate may accommodate guests.
Travel operators and hotels must require guests to register prior to travel through the Baguio Visita, and hotels must ensure observance of health and safety protocols.
The CTSEO warned tour and hotel operators that violation of guidelines could result in the revocation of their certificate of authority to operate.
The city government, on the other hand, will be responsible for the regulated entry and real-time monitoring of tourists’ itinerary; ensure efficiency of triage and testing process; ensure protection of personal information of tourists; ensure updated advisories relevant to residents and tourists; explore and implement tourism corridors with partner local government units and travel operators.
Mapalo said tourists who enter the city without following the guidelines will be dealt with accordingly, as he also claimed that stakeholders have decided on the gradual reopening of Baguio in order to fire up the economy, which at present, is badly affected by the pandemic.
He said the plan is meant to prepare residents to the eventual resumption of economic activities, such as tourism, although under a rigid process.
Last May, Mapalo has presented to city officials the city’s tourism recovery plan, which is divided into three phases: mitigating phase which covers April to May; the transition phase from June to August; and the recovery phase which begins in September onwards. – Rimaliza A. Opiña