Baguio reopens after losing P3.5 B in tourism income

Published June 14, 2021, 4:07 PM

by Comanda Rizaldy C.

THEY’RE BACK – Tourists ride boats at Burnham Park in Baguio City which has reopened its tourism amid the pandemic. (Zaldy Comanda)
BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong here has disclosed that the local tourism industry reopened after the city lost P3.5 billion in potential income from tourist arrivals last year due to the pandemic.

Thus, he once again reminded residents and visitors to strictly adhere to the Minimum Public Health Standards (MPHS) as protection against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“The most effective action that we can take to protect ourselves against COVID-19 and its variants is our compliance to MPHS. These are usually free like physical distancing and frequent washing of hands or do not cost much,” Magalong said.

Magalong said the Summer Capital is once again opening its economy and tourism industry due to the city’s current very manageable COVID-19 situation. “We need to open up our economy. We are hurting, many are going hungry and people are getting depressed.” He said the city’s tourism industry and similarly situated businesses continue to be heavily impacted by the pandemic amid ongoing efforts by the tourism department and local governments to revive them.

Last year, Magalong disclosed that the local tourism industry lost P3.5 billion in potential income from tourist arrivals.

From the estimated 1.7 million tourist arrivals in 2019, he reported that only 232,000 visitors arrived in this city, seven times lower than the preceding year.

At the height of the implementation of the Luzon-wide lockdown or from April to June last year, the local tourism industry lost more than P1.6 billion in potential income while thousands of workers in various tourism-related industries lost more than P550 million in unrealized wages.

However, Magalong said the city was able to generate some P1.8 billion income from tourist arrivals last year, the highest among premier tourist destinations in the country after the city open its doors to tourists in October with the implementation of the “Ridge to Reef” tourism bubble between Baguio and the Ilocos region.

He assured that no one’s health and safety will be compromised in the city’s move to open up its economy and tourism industry since certain guidelines and procedures will still be enforced.