Ilocos Norte is the first province in the Philippines to be awarded with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels Stamp for its adoption of globally recognized health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WTTC Safe Travels Stamp is the world’s first safety and hygiene earmark given to tourism institutions and industries that assists travelers in recognizing governments and businesses that implement global health standardized guidelines.
Some local accommodations and individual tourist destinations in the country have likewise earned the WTTC Stamp.
“The WTTC and the Department of Tourism have decided to certify our whole province, instead of our individual attractions because they have seen on our application our several initiatives.
Ilocos Norte is one of the first destinations in the Philippines to reopen for tourism. The province was also part of the pioneer Ridge and Reef Tourism Corridor among Region I provinces and Baguio City.
They have recognized the presence of safety nets for stakeholders in the industry, specifically the establishment of a tourists’ triage, the regular conduct of hotel inspections, and our pioneering effort to prioritize tourism workers in our vaccine rollout,”explained Mr. Xavier R. Ruiz, Officer-in-Charge of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), through the Ilocos Norte Trade and Investment Center and INTO has reopened the application for “Stay IN,” a project which aims to help local resorts and hotels recover from the effect of the pandemic by inviting local authorized persons outside residence and other qualified individuals for “workation” or “studycation.”
Stay IN requires applicants to have a SafePass QR Code, a negative antigen test result, and a booking confirmation from accredited tourism establishments, among others.
As most Ilocos Norte towns’ quarantine classification was de-escalated through a localized General Community declaration by Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc, INTO has released travel guidelines for the opening of local destinations for internal tourists. Specifically, Ilocos Norte residents of all ages who are generally healthy are now allowed to take day tours.
Tour participants are required to present a valid identification card, have a SafePass QR Code, and a negative antigen test result for those coming from areas in the province under Modified General Community Quarantine.
Previously, to safely reopen the industry and restore the public’s confidence in travel, PGIN, INTO and the Provincial health Office immunized nearly 2,000 tourism workers, particularly tour guides, hospitality personnel, event organizers, food service providers, tour agencies, freelance creative workers, MSMEs, local food delivery drivers, and other tourism-related workers.
Ilocos Norte is one of the first provinces that has started rolling out vaccines for its tourism sector as part of its program towards herd immunity.