Aug 4, 2020

Travel as we know it, is not returning anytime soon. By estimates, global international travel will get its footing back by 2022—and that’s an optimistic estimate. Our best chance of fulfilling our #travelgoals would be to go local. But even local tourism isn’t looking very good right now especially with Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces going back to modified enhanced community quarantine. Not to mention the surging number of COVID-19 cases in the country, which just surpassed 100,000.

[READ: Metro Manila still in GCQ, possible return to MECQ if cases continue to rise]

But Baguio City is certainly optimistic. The city announced today that they will be reopening to tourists by September (this year!)—next month! 

Pine tree-lined Burnham Park once a tourist destination rarely gets crowded now with quarantine restrictions in place.

In an announcement made through Baguio City Public Information Office’s Facebook page today, its local government said it plans to gradually re-open tourism with regulated, controlled entry and monitored movement, by September.

[READ: Post-COVID La Union and Baguio travel time will be shorter, thanks to this upcoming expressway]

In the city proper, police checkpoints are in place.

But as you figured, a trip up north will not be a walk in Burnham Park—there will be regulation and requirements, lots of them.

Baguio City LGU laid out protocols for tourists, hotels and city tourism managers should the famed “Summer Capital” open by next month.

For tourists, here are some of the requirements should you visit next month:

  • Pre-register through Baguio’s online registration app called Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA)
  • Pre-book accommodation preferably through accredited tour operators, and declare itinerary 
  • Undergo mandatory triage and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to be paid by them upon entry
  • Stay in the hotel until results come out (at most nine hours) before going around the city
  • Be subject to close monitoring by tour operator and/or hotel management
Scene in the City of Pines in April when enhanced community quarantine was still in place

For tour operators and hotels:

  • Must have Department of Tourism-issued Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) to accommodate guests 
  • Must require guests to register prior to travel through Baguio VISITA 
  • Hotels must ensure observance of health and safety protocols or risk getting their permit revoked 
Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong has been lauded for his contact tracing initiative that has so far worked to keep the number of COVID-19 cases in the city low. As of writing, Baguio City has 67 active COVID-19 cases.

[READ: Baguio City police spotted with disinfectants, not guns, in their holsters]

Likewise, city tourism managers are expected to perform tasks such as monitoring of tourists’ whereabouts and compliance to protocols, ensuring that personal data and information of tourists are protected and updating advisories and timely information dissemination relevant and important to locals and tourists.

If you are willing to go through all the trouble for a much-awaited vacation, at your own risk, then, by all means, schedule that trip.



Photos courtesy of Baguio City PIO Facebook page

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TAGS: Baguio City City of Pines hotel mayor benjamin magalong pcr test tourism travel