Tourism council asks city gov’t to reopen to Covid vaccinated, negative-tested tourists

The Baguio Tourism Council has appealed to the city government to reopen the tourism industry even on guarded terms to sustain the livelihood of thousands of industry workers affected by the lockdowns caused by the Delta variant-driven new surge of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

In Resolution No. 09-2021, the BTC asked the city to allow the entry of fully vaccinated and RT-PCR-tested visitors even on a limited capacity as allowed by the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The body said the economic sector has been reeling from the havoc wrought by the stringent lockdowns that caused business stoppage and lay-offs.

The IATF, the council said, allows non-essential travels at a minimum 30 percent capacity for areas under General Community Quarantine with Heightened Restrictions, the city’s quarantine status until Oct. 31, 2021.

It said the industry has enough safeguards as tourism and economic sector frontliners had been 100 percent fully vaccinated and the establishments now well-versed with the existing health and safety protocols.

Moreover, the BTC said the presentation of vaccination cards and negative RT-PCR test, registration with the visita application and presentation of QTP, personal appearance at the triage and strict compliance to health and safety protocols “would be the perfect balance to revive the economy while not unduly burdening the health care system.”

The city suspended leisure travels starting last Sept. 3 because of the new peak in cases.

Before this, tourist travels had been on an on-and-off status as the city officials led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong strive to attain a balance between health priorities and economic needs of the residents. – Aileen P. Refuerzo