The summer capital of the Philippines was not exempted from the Luzon-wide community quarantine that started three months ago. Much like other local provinces, this coveted tourist destination has suffered major losses in its tourism industry. But Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong plans to change this by allowing Baguio new normal travel by September 2020, subject to mandatory safety measures.
“When we open up, it’s just like applying for a visa. That’s what we’re doing right now with returning Baguio residents, you have to apply for a ‘visa’, get a schedule,” the official said in an interview reported by ABS-CBN News. He also told the media that they plan to rebrand as a “safe vacation spot” following improvement in conditions in nearby regions, including Metro Manila.
Baguio new normal travel and tourism updates
Currently, Baguio remains under modified general community quarantine. As of 23 Jun 2020, Baguio has a total of 44 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Only seven of which are active at the time of writing. Between 20 and 22 Jun, the city also lifted the lockdown in three of its wards.
As Baguio possibly reopens by September, Filipinos planning to visit the city will go through necessary health inspections. They include going through a checkpoint and two levels of medical triage. Mayor Magalong also said that they plan to limit their visitor count.
Until September, Baguio entry remains limited to returning Baguio residents like students and stranded tourists outside of the city. Also allowed are city workers from other regions, COVID-19 frontliners and people with scheduled official and medical appointments within Baguio.
In a television interview earlier this month, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat praised Baguio’s city government for their consistent COVID-19 efforts. She stated that other parts of the Philippines can learn from the city’ effective implementation of COVID-19 safety measures.
Several Baguio hotels have likewise been granted certificates of authority to operate by the DOT. But like other tourism establishments in the city, they will strictly follow “health and occupational protocols”, according to the Baguio Tourism Council’s concept plan for the new normal.
This month, the city government also declared every Sunday as Bicycle Day in the city. This is in line with its plan to encourage biking as an alternative form of commuting, on top of promoting health and wellness in the new normal. Furthermore, it will continue to prohibit Baguio festivals as the city deliberates on making “new marketing approaches” for their traditional city-wide events, the same concept plan said.
Meanwhile, Baguio Tourism has started a campaign to encourage previous visitors to relive their Baguio experiences. Participants can share photos of their Baguio travel by 31 Jul 2020. The chosen winner will receive an all-expense-paid dream vacation in Baguio once inter-region leisure travel resumes.
Featured image credit: earl garino | Unsplash