Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) — With most parts of the country now under the less stricter modified general community quarantine, some places in northern Luzon will be opening their doors again to local travelers.
Speaking to CNN Philippines, Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon said the department has launched the Ridge to Reef Corridor Plan last week. The initiative involves a travel bubble which covers Baguio City, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.
"Ang konsepto nito is we identify areas na mababa or walang kaso ng COVID, na nakakatiyak tayo na andiyan yung health and safety protocols, at tsaka kung saan pumayag na yung local executives na magsimula ang turismo," explained Bengzon.
[Translation: The concept involves us identifying areas with little or no COVID cases, health and safety protocols in place, and the go-signal of their local executives to restart tourism there.
The test run, however, will be accommodating tourists hailing from the said areas for the meantime, Bengzon clarified.
Bengzon likewise reminded tourism establishments must only operate at 50 percent capacity in line with MGCQ guidelines. They must also secure certificates of authority to operate before catering to customers.
Protocols, conditions for travelers
Aside from usual health protocols like social distancing and frequent washing of hands, travelers are expected to fulfill additional protocols.
For instance, one must take a rapid test before being allowed to enter the area. The tests may be taken prior to arrival or on-site, with travelers only permitted to finally roam around once they test negative.
Tourists must also present pre-arranged accommodations and turn these over to authorities for easier control and monitoring of movement inside the tourism bubble, added Bengzon.