“When we discuss tourism, it’s not the economy and visitors but more so the families and livelihoods that rely on this powerhouse of an industry. Let us make sure that we prioritize the people behind this dear industry and make sure that they are the ones that benefit the most from this reopening,” urged Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc during the launching of the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor at the Baguio Convention Center, last September 22.
National and Regional tourism chiefs, Region I Local Chief Executives, heads of tourism councils, and president of tourism organizations spearheaded the “Ridge and Reef” launch, alongside presenting available itineraries and local products.
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, reiterated that the previous Memorandum of Agreement signing aimed to foster the establishment of green lanes for tourists and promote safe travel and seamless inter connectivity of land voyage, subject to various health and safety protocols set by the Department of Health, National Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, and Local Government Units, among others.
Secretary Romulo-Puyat further explained the travel corridor as “zones between countries and territories that have demonstrated a capacity to effectively control the spread of COVID 19. It will allow citizens of certain provinces and regions to travel safely within designated zones through public health, and safety will be continued to be safeguarded.”
Criteria to open as a travel corridor include low COVID-19 cases, presence of an international gateway for tourists, adequate health facilities to support the influx of tourists, in place new normal protocols, and openness of the local government units and communities to accept and host tourists.
Furthermore, Regional Director Joseph Francisco Ortega remarked: “Knowing that the ultimate problem was how to balance the economy and the health and safety of our constituents we first sought the help of our health officials from both the private and public sectors to ensure that we open slowly but surely.”
Yesterday, October 1, Ilocos Norte inaugurated its Provincial Tourist Triage Center in Pinili town as a part of its reinforced COVID-19 preventive measures. Spearheading the event is Gov. Marcos Manotoc and the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office.
As we move forward, we all speak of the new normal. We have to start becoming comfortable in this discomfort. There has to be a paradigm shift and cultural change, one that we must all embrace. This is a path we can forge together safely and prosperously,” Gov. Marcos Manotoc ended.