Baguio City reopening delayed

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    THE summer capital’s reopening of its “travel bubble” to tourists from the Ilocos region will be delayed by another week following a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in two of its barangays, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said yesterday.

    Magalong, during the Laging Handa public briefing, said the launching of the Department of Tourism’s travel bubble dubbed “The Ridge and Reef (RnR)” travel corridor, would proceed today but its implementation will have to wait until next week.

    The RnR travel bubble covers the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan, and this city.

    “The systems are already in place. The launching will be on (today) but the actual execution will probably happen next week. There are some areas that are finalizing their system and at the same time, there was an outbreak in two barangays in Baguio,” Magalong said without identifying the areas.

    He said 43 new infections had been confirmed as of Sunday resulting in the lockdown of two barangays. He quickly added, though, that 82 percent of the confirmed cases were discovered through contact tracing.

    Magalong said the launch of the travel bubble on Tuesday would help them identify certain problem areas, if any, and enable the city government to correct and address them, as well as learn from the experiences of the other provinces from the Ilocos Region that are participating in the program.

    Under the DOT program, only tourists from the Ilocos Region who have pre-registered bookings would be allowed to enter Baguio City. Local tourists should also have registered under a specific tour package which would enable the city government to track down the whereabouts of the tourists.

    Magalong said “do it yourself” tours, or those designed by the visitors themselves, may be allowed two to three weeks after the official opening of Baguio City to tourists. The city may also open to tourists from other regions later on.

    Apart from Baguio City, part of the travel destination under the travel bubble undertaking are Badoc, Currimao, Paoay, Batac, Laoag, Pasuguin, Burgos, Bangui, Pagudpod, Adams, Sarrat, and Vintar in Ilocos Norte; Vigan, Bantay, and Caoayan in Ilocos Sur; Manaoag, Alaminos City, and Bolinao in Pangasinan; and San Juan, Bauang, and San Gabriel in La Union.

    All tourist activities are arranged by DOT-accredited local tour operators in coordination with the department and local government unit tourism offices.