Manila, Philippines – To ensure that management of tourism activities would be more seamless and safety protocols are followed under the new normal, a digital platform called Baguio Visitor Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) was launched by the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) to monitor visitors coming in and out of Baguio upon the reopening of the city slated in October.
The DOT provided the technology for free to Baguio’s local government through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) to support the city’s gradual reopening to travelers from provinces La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte.
The digital platform will have the following features:
- A visitor web dashboard for account registration, travel registration, payments, QR coupon reading, and dispensing travel advisories and tourism information;
- A site portal for the profile registration of tourism establishments, services, and sites. It also hosts the check-in and out mechanism and centralized contact-tracing database;
- An admin interface, for the real-time monitoring of visitor profiles and sites, visited; setting registration requirements and visitor criteria. It contains data analytics and advisories; and
- A mobile app, for the mobile version of VISITA’s web functions. It receives real-time notifications and can be used as a travel guide and for assistance.
Baguio is expected to reopen the city to tourists from Region 1 of the country on 1 October 2020 with a carrying capacity of 200 visitors a day. The anticipated reopening would only allow guided tours via accredited tour guides listed in VISITA. Do-it-yourself or DIY trips would be prohibited.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the technology would also complement the stringent inter-provincial border controls designed to safeguard the public’s health and safety in the Cordillera and Ilocos region.
Romulo-Puyat said, “Of course, we are living with the virus, that 200 could still change, it may be lowered or raised according to the situation.”
“I am praying for the Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor’s success, as it will prove to local travelers that inter-regional tourism can be done safely, responsibly, and sustainably. As confidence in traveling locally grows, we hope to emulate its success in many other areas around the country, giving us valuable momentum for our push towards the tourism industry’s recovery,” she added.