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Ridge and Reef Corridor heralds domestic tourism recovery

ILOCOS NORTE – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced that the Ridge and Reef Corridor heralds another milestone in the country’s bid to spur domestic tourism recovery.

The tourism chief personally travelled to Ilocos Norte today (October 20) to support the Region 1 Tourism Convention, where the Corridor Plan between Baguio City and the provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte (BLUPISIN) was formally launched.

“The combined initiatives under the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor have shown that through close collaboration between local and national government units and the private sector, we can slowly piece the tourism industry back together and make it more capable of thriving in the new normal,” Puyat said.

Puyat said that the reopening of Ilocos Norte to Luzon tourists last October 15, including those coming from general community quarantine (GCQ) areas, starts the second phase of the Corridor Plan, with the first phase being the Intra-Corridor Travel between Baguio City and BLUPISIN that opened in October 1.

The tourism chief shared that a total of 199 accommodation and tourism establishments in Ilocos Norte have been given Certificates of Authority to Operate (CAO) by the DOT, after successfully complying to the Department’s health and safety guidelines.

“I am confident that under the leadership the provincial and local officials of BLUPISIN, alongside the strict enforcement of health and safety protocols in tourism establishments and borders, we will see this expanded Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor succeed and continue to become a best practice for reopening tourism in the Philippines,” she explained.

Puyat announced that through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the DOT shall develop a Region 1 Visitor Management System and Online Application, akin to the Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VIS.I.T.A.) platform it provided to Baguio City.

“Using this digital multi-platform, the region can easily monitor visitor influx and mobility, as well as conduct fast and efficient contact tracing when the need arises. As data is expected to build up in the system through years of use, it also holds the potential to become a reliable source of visitor arrival data for the region,” Puyat explained.

She also disclosed the DOT’s continued efforts to conduct relevant trainings among tourism stakeholders in Region 1, and to assist in optimizing the region’s border control facilities including the Provincial Tourist Triage Center in Pinili, Ilocos Norte to become Tourists One Stop Shops (TOSS) or ‘green lanes’ that will enable visitors to experience a fast and seamless border check and control procedure.

The tourism chief, who travelled to Ilocos Norte by land, underwent the province’s process for incoming tourists, which includes mandatory triage, and online pre-registration at the www.ilocosnorte.ph website, where tourists will be required to answer a short health questionnaire, input their personal information, and travel details such as arrival and departure dates, and the name of their confirmed accommodation, transportation, and tour provider.

“As more LGUs gain confidence to reopen tourism destinations, my call remains the same for our local travelers. Prior to travelling, take time to educate yourselves of the entry protocols in the destinations that you intend to visit. And once you have entered the destination, please follow and respect the rules, and observe minimum health protocols for your own safety as well as the safety of the local community in the place you are visiting,” Puyat reiterated.

Published:January 8, 2021

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