Ilocos Norte officially launched Phase II of reopening for tourism within the “Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor” earlier today, at the Robinsons Place Ilocos, San Nicolas. Phase II of the “Ridge and Reef” is the amplified inter-regional travel bubble that includes other provinces and regions in Luzon as tourist generating areas.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who arrived earlier in the province, will grace the formal launching ceremony, along with DOT Region 1 Director Mr. Joseph Francisco Ortega at Sitio Remedios, Currimao. DOT officials, among other guests, has witnessed “Biag ni Lam-ang” and “Fiesta Empanada” cultural performances as one of the highlights of the launch.
The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), through the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) has likewise prepared series of activities: the ribbon cutting ceremony and the Mini Travel fair at the Robinsons Place, and the Region 1 Tourism Convention that includes the launching of Region Tourism Branding and the inauguration of Region 1 Tourism Council Interim Officers at Sitio Remedios.
Last October 13, Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc has established guidelines for the second phase of the reopening of tourism, through Executive Order No. 98-20. Among the salient points of the guidelines include mandatory COVID-19 tests, registration to a software application called SafePass, a validated Health Declaration, and signed Affidavit of Understanding, among others.
According to the Governor tourists are not roaming freely. They are really being monitored, regulated, and accompanied to ensure minimal contact with local community. But at the same time, they will find ways so that tourists can patronize their local businesses.
“In addition, I’ve always believed that our tourism has been growing very steadily and quite rapid. We’re hoping to make a climb to one of the first or top-of-mind destinations in the country. We know that when people actually come and visit, they are often very happy and impressed. So kahit malayo (even if it’s far) we invite everyone to take a trip in our province. Surely, the land travel will be forgotten soon after they enjoy the beauty of Ilocos Norte,” Gov. Marcos Manotoc remarked.
Ilocos Norte has already started welcoming tourists since October 15, recording its first four travelers from Baguio City and Antipolo City.