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Baguio City set to welcome back tourists from Luzon

LOVELY TOURISTS –  Baguio City is preparing to open its borders to tourists from the rest of Luzon later this week.  It is hosting the coronation  night of this year’s Miss Universe Philippines pageant. The candidates recently visited neighboring La Trinidad, Benguet. (EV ESPIRITU)

BAGUIO CITY — The summer capital will open its borders to tourists from the rest of Luzon, including Metro Manila, by  October 23, Mayor Benjamin Magalong announced on Saturday. “We may consider accepting tourist from other regions in Luzon starting Oct 23, but limited to 200 per day — to be increased gradually,” Magalong said Baguio City had opened its borders to tourists from the Ilocos region on October 1.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong

It is a bold step, Magalong said, because Baguio City and other local governments could no longer afford to be “risk averse,” now that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)  pandemic has adversely affected the economy. All tourists will be thoroughly screened.

The landmark Lion’s Head along Kennon Road in Baguio City  (EV ESPIRITU)

Leisure visitors must sign up with an online Baguio travel system and book rooms at designated hotels for closer monitoring.Tourists will also shoulder the cost of the COVID-19 test.

“Since Oct 1, only 4 tourists of 60 who registered from Region 1 came up to Baguio,” Magalong said, following a meeting here with Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and the Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases. “We have to ease up on some restrictions. Guided tours will now be optional,” Magalong said, so applicants need not upload confirmed hotel bookings as part of the entry requirements.

“But only accommodation facilities accredited by the Department of Tourism will be allowed to accept tourists,” he added.The city tourism industry lost an estimated P1.6 billion in foregone revenues due to the months-long quarantine restrictions.

PARK PREPPING Boat operators at BurnhamPark have started preparing for the resumption of tourism activities in Baguio City to ensure that health and safety protocols will be followed to protect both visitors and residents from COVID-19. —EV ESPIRITU

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Article and Photo originally posted by Inquirer last October 18, 2020 7:36am and written by Vince Cabreza.