June 1, 2023

Baguio hopes to start accepting a limited number of tourists by September amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Aloysius Mapalo, city supervising tourism operations officer, said they are looking at a “gradual opening of our borders to tourists.”

He said they are devising a system where tourists will have to register before they are allowed entry to the city.

“We want to limit the number of tourists that will come in and we can only do that through advance registration,” he said.

He said when the registration has reached its limit, the city government will ask the registrants to choose another date for their visit to the city.

In 2019, Baguio recorded an estimated tourist arrival of 1.7 million.

Mapalo said April and May or the summer season recorded the most number of tourist arrival with an average of 100,000 a month.

The number excludes the daytime tourists and those who stay at unregistered and un-monitored accommodation establishments.

December recorded the second highest number of tourist arrival, which attributed to the cold weather while February ranked third in terms of tourist arrival due to the Baguio Flower Festival.

Trip to Baguio will be shortened further with the opening of the last leg of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) Rosario exit on July 15.

In a Facebook post, Department of Public Work and Highways Sec. Mark Villar said the completion and opening of the toll road is expected to reduce travel time from Tarlac to Rosario t to one hour from the current 3.5 hours.

“With the completion of the last portion of originally designed TPLEX towards Rosario Rotunda (formerly Pugo-Rosario Road/Manila North Road Junction), travel to the Ilocos Region and Baguio City in the Cordillera will now be easy,” Villar said.

Mapalo, however said the road opening, in the meantime, will not be beneficial to the city.

“At this time, di pa magpapapasok, walang masyadong (benefits) kasi controlled pa ang pagpunta dito,” he said.

Mapalo said while the opening of TPLEX Rosario exit will shorten the travel time to the city, visitors have always found a way to visit Baguio, even when travel time is at its worse, during peak season.

Na-feel na natin ang pagdagdag ng turista sa atin even without the Rosario exit,” he said.

Baguio continues to impose strict border controls to prevent people from flocking to the city that may cause a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city. – PNA release