Puyat to lead DOT dry run for Baguio-Ilocos ‘tourism bubble’

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has committed to attend the dry run for the establishment of the Baguio-Region I tourism bubble that has been tentatively scheduled on September 21.

Baguio City Public Information Office (PIO)

This program aims to promote the reopening of domestic tourism in low risk areas. It also supports the efforts of the local government units to revive the economy and assist in regenerating jobs for displaced residents.

Puyat visited Baguio City last week during the observance of the 111th Charter Anniversary of Baguio City.

She witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and the Governors from the Ilocos region provinces to establish the Baguio-La Union-Pangasinan-Ilocos Sur-Ilocos Norte (BLUPISIN) travel corridor plan.

Aside from the tourism bubble dry run, Baguio City’s Public Information Office (PIO) also announced that the local tourism office will setup a North Luzon travel fair. Residents of Baguio wanting to visit the different tourist destinations in the Ilocos Region can start looking into tour packages that will fit their budget.

Supervising City Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo informed members of the Baguio Tourism Council (BTC) that tourism officers from the proposed Baguio-Region I Tourism Corridor agreed to promote their proposed tour packages for the ‘Ridge to Reef Baguio-Ilocos Tours,” it said.

The city tourism officer is set to meet local travel agencies and tour operators to deliberate on the affordable and feasible tour packages that Baguio will be offering to interested visitors.

The tourism officers of other provinces in Region I will be doing the same in time for the scheduled travel fair. They are aiming to attract local tourists to begin traveling again while observing the health and safety protocols.

In the case of Baguio, Mapalo said the launching of the Baguio Visitors Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) online registration platform and the acceptance of registrants from Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte will also be on September 21.

Initially, he said that Pangasinan will be opening Manaoag and Bolinao for visitors within the bubble; La Union will be offering Bauang; Ilocos Sur will be opening up Vigan City; while Ilocos Norte will be welcoming visitors to Laoag City, Paoay and Pagudpud.

Unlike during the pre-COVID phase, prospective tourists would be required to have their visits handled by duly accredited travel agencies and tour operators.

Visitors are also required to undergo either anti-gen or reverse transcription polymerase (RT-PCR) tests from their points of origin that will be valid for five days and that additional days of stay in the tourist destinations require them to undergo similar tests in the places where they were stalled.

Pre-bookings in hotels and other accommodation establishments aside from online registration will also be required.