The Ilocos Norte delegation will be heading up to Baguio City on September 22 for the launching of the “Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor.” “Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor,” is an initiative of Chief Executives and Tourism Councils in Northern Luzon to cushion the impact of COVID-19 across tourism industries. Ilocos Norte’s team will be composed of representatives from the Provincial Government and the Buy Ilocos Norte, and members of the Ilocos Norte Travel Agencies Association. They will conduct a public presentation on available and bookable tours.
“We are selling first to residents of the Region I and Baguio City. The theme of our tour packages is anchored on our best assets: our natural environment that allows us to rejuvenate and breathe in the fresh air. We are pushing a healthy lifestyle through our itineraries,” remarked Ilocos Norte’s Provincial Tourism Officer, Aian Raquel. “[The presentation is also] to show our resilience in the middle of this pandemic. We are known as a resilient province and resilient people, so these are the things we are showcasing,” he impressed.
In a recent meeting hosted by the Province of Ilocos Norte, the Baguio-La Union-Pangasinan-Ilocos Sur-Ilocos Norte (BLUPISIN) Technical Working Group unified tourism reopening guidelines through a 5-days worth of consultations and inspections.
Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte had proposed the most number of towns for reopening among member provinces. Phase I of the reopening is the Inter-regional Travel Corridor, Phase II is an Expanded Travel Corridor, and Phase III will be a Subnational Travel Corridor. “During the Technical Working Group meeting, we tried our protocol and somehow it worked. The processing time at the border (Ilocos Norte Southern Provincial Border in Badoc Town) was around one hour and a half; that included the waiting time of the Rapid Antigen Test result.
“We also tried the Safe Travel Application for You in Ilocos Norte (Stay IN). It is not yet perfect but it has a promising development. If the National Government or regional counterparts are not able to decide on what application to use, we are ready to support our stakeholders with the locally-developed free web-based app,” Raquel explained.
On September 2, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Ilocos Norte Gov. Mathew Marcos Manotoc, Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Ilocos Sur 2nd District Rep. Kristine Singson Meehan, Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Luis Singson, Pangasinan Gov. Amado I. Espino III, and La Union Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega, who was represented by Department of Tourism (DOT) Region I Regional Director Joseph Francisco Ortega, at the Baguio Country Club, for the “Ridge and Reef” cooperation.