Ilocos Norte will start accepting tourists from the rest of Luzon beginning October 15, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said recently.
“We’re elated with the decision of Governor Matthew Manotoc to finally welcome visitors from Luzon to Ilocos Norte, even those coming from areas that are still under general community quarantine (GCQ),” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.
“The province’s success in managing the number of Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases, not to mention an array of cultural sites, natural attractions, and fun activities make it really worth the long drive for people looking for a cure for their cabin fever,” she added.
The DOT would assist the province in monitoring the movement of its initial target number of 50 tourists per day.
It would also introduce a visitor management system to the province, akin to the Visitor Information and Travel Assistance or VIS.I.T.A. platform provided to Baguio City, through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB).
“With the pandemic and the virus still among us, the DOT realizes the importance of harnessing the full potential of digital or ‘contactless’ technology to avoid transmissions as domestic tourism is reopened. In the event that a Covid-19 positive tourist manages to enter any of the country’s tourism destinations, contact tracing must be fast and seamless,” Romulo-Puyat said.
The DOT has so far issued certificates to operate to around 208 hotels and resorts in Ilocos Norte. Through the DOT Region 1 Office, these establishments would be regularly checked for compliance with health and safety standards.
The tourism chief, meanwhile, reminded tourists looking to visit the province to respect and follow the province’s protocols for travelers. She said that a negative RT-PCR result is required within 48 hours before entry to the region.
“We urge travelers to stay at home from the time you undergo the required RT-PCR test up until the schedule of travel as a precaution. Wear your masks, face shields and practice physical distancing when in public,” she said.
She noted that the success of the various tourism corridor plans being explored across the country “heavily depends” on the synergy between the government, the private sector, tourists, and residents.
“The sooner we achieve this locally, the sooner we can hope to carry out a similar strategy with other countries with low or no Covid-19 cases,” she said.