COVID-19 case outbreak will not affect reopening of tourism in Baguio City

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the escalation of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city will not derail the scheduled reopening of the city's tourism industry to Region 1 on October 1.

Magalong said the outbreak in three barangays, which triggered the spike was not caused by random or unidentified cases, but was due to contacts of current cases tracked in contact tracing activities.

This meant that almost all of the cases were connected to previous patients, and these have been contained or quarantined since detection of the main case, and, therefore, had not had further interaction with other persons in the community.

"We don't expect the outbreak to affect our tourism plan. After all, we know where the cases are coming from and containment measures had been done before their diagnosis came," he said.

"We are ready because these cases have already been confined and isolated from the community. In fact, we expect more cases to happen in the next days because of the continuing contact tracing and expanded testing but we are okay because we know where our cases our coming from and have undertaken measures,” he added.

Magalong also pointed out that the situation was under control.

"We know what is happening on the ground.  Hindi yung bulag tayo kung ano ang nangyayari.  We know where it is happening that's why we were able to address it," Magalong added.

City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo said there were now 398 user account registrations since the launch of the Baguio Visita online registration platform last September 22.

Mapalo said that, as of September 27, there were 47 travel requests, with 29 from Ilocos Region, followed by 13 from the National Capital Region (NCR) and five from other regions.

“Only requests from Ilocos region are being entertained, while those from other areas are informed that the city is not yet open for other areas in the country, but there is no approved travel just yet pending completion of documents including COVID-19 test results," Mapalo said.

Under the "Ridge and Reef" travel corridor, only tourists from Region 1 will be allowed to visit the city through the guided tour concept as the first phase of the program.  Phase two will include Regions 2 and 3, and phase three, all other regions.

Tourists with incomplete documents, including COVID-19 test results, will not be allowed entry.

He said tour packages are being arranged by 15 accredited travel and tour agencies in Baguio City, while there were 82 accommodation establishments that were issued certificate authorizing operation (CAO) from the Department of Tourism-Cordillera.

Initially, 200 registrants in the Baguio VISITA platform can be accommodated in the city starting October 1, where the same will be assessed on a day to day basis to ascertain the capacity of the tourism industry stakeholders to handle the influx of tourists.

Mapalo said tourists from Region 1 wanting to visit Baguio City must  register first and fill out the health declaration questionaire through the Baguio Visitors Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) platform by registering at  and wait confirmation for QR coded  Tourist Pass, before travelling to the city.

Aside from registering online, travelers may see the rules and guidelines and may send direct message to the official FB pages of Baguio Tourism and Baguio Visita.

The guidelines that were crafted for the opening of the local tourism industry were dynamic, and could change anytime depending on the situation that will transpire in the course of time that tourists will be coming to the city since the primordial consideration will be the safety of both the residents and the visitors.