Ilocos Norte, famous for panoramic ocean views, wind farm, and Baroque architecture, will begin welcoming travelers and guests from the rest of Luzon beginning October 15.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the decision of Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc to open the doors of the province to tourists 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,” Secretary Puyat said.
To help the province in monitoring tourists, the DOT will provide the Ilocos Norte provincial government a visitor monitoring system, similar to the Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VIS.I.T.A.) platform it provided 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,” added Puyat.
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.
“To those who are concerned about the reopening of tourism, I promise you that we will do everything in our power to place all safeguards possible. We will do it slowly and gradually, and as safely as possible,” said Governor Manotoc.
The DOT has issued certificates of authority to a total of 208 hotels and resorts in Ilocos Norte. These establishments will be regularly checked for compliance with health and safety standards, according to Puyat.
Tourists looking to visit the province are required to follow the province’s protocols for travelers, such as undergoing an RT-PCR test and having a negative result 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.