Ilocos Norte, which is famous for a variety of attractions, including panoramic ocean views, a breathtaking wind farm, baroque architecture, and sand dunes adventure, is reopening its doors to more tourists from the rest of Luzon on October 15.
“We’re elated with the decision of Governor Manotoc to finally welcome visitors from Luzon to Ilocos Norte, even those coming from areas that are still under general community quarantine (GCQ). The province’s success in managing the number of COVID-19 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,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
To assist Ilocos Norte in effectively monitoring the movement of its initial target number of 50 tourists per day, the tourism chief announced that the DOT shall introduce a visitor management system to the province, akin to the Visitor Information and Travel Assistance or VIS.I.T.A. platform it 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,” Puyat said.
The DOT will continue to extend support to the provincial government by ensuring that necessary health and safety protocols are strictly enforced in tourist sites, hotels, and other tourism-related establishments that seek to accommodate tourists from Luzon.
“As of today, the DOT has issued certificates of authority to a total of 208 hotels and resorts in Ilocos Norte. Through our Regional Office, these establishments will be regularly checked for compliance with health and safety standards,” Puyat explained.
Meanwhile, the tourism chief also reminded tourists looking to visit the province to respect and follow the province’s protocols for travelers. “Remember, test before travel. 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,” Puyat said.
“The success of the various tourism corridor plans that are being explored across the country will heavily depend 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.