Ilocos Sur open to Luzon residents by mid-November
Tourists roam the iconic Calle Crisologo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur in this undated file photo.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Ilocos Sur open to Luzon residents by mid-November
( - October 18, 2020 - 5:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — With a number of travel restrictions eased by the coronavirus task force, the province of Ilocos Sur will be open to Luzon residents as early as November 15 "once all systems and health and safety measures are in place," tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat disclosed Sunday in a bid for the industry's recovery. 

In a statement sent to reporters, the Department of Tourism said that it welcomed the news, adding that it came upon the announcement of Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Singson to open the province amid growing interest from Metro Manila tourists.

"The DOT also lauded Governor Singson's initiative to give back jobs to the tourism workforce from the kutcheros or carriage drivers to the waiters, the souvenir shops, to the tour guides through the slow but sure reopening of the province," the statement issued Sunday afternoon read.

READ: Eased travel movement to empower LGUs to reopen tourist spots — Puyat

"Ilocos Sur first welcomed back tourists through the Ridge and Reef travel corridor with Baguio City and Ilocos Region including the provinces of La Union, Pangasinan, and Ilocos Norte. Among the famous tourist destinations in the province are the Vigan Heritage Village and Calle Crisologo, Plaza Salcedo Dancing Fountain, Bantay Bell Tower, Santa Maria Church, and Plaza Burgos," it also said. 

Baguio City first began accepting visitors from La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, which are part of the Ridge and Reef travel corridor in October. According to reports, it only accepts 200 visitors daily from these areas. 

Puyat has said as early as September that over four million workers in the tourism sector ended up jobless amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, which enforces the quarantine protocols set by the coronavirus task force, called Tagaytay City "a good model" for other local government units that plan to open their borders for tourism in the future.

The joint task force also reminded the public that travel authorization is still a requirement for any tourists looking to cross borders but are not included in the list of the authorized persons outside residence list despite most parts of the country being under modified community quarantine.

As of the Department of Health's latest case bulletin also on Sunday afternoon, over 356,000 coronavirus infections have been recorded in the country since December. Of which, 39,000 are still classified as active cases.  

— Franco Luna with reports from Rosette Adel 

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