June 5, 2023

Baguio City has missed out earning a potential revenue of P1.4 billion from the tourism industry, which is one of the sectors greatly affected by the enhanced community quarantine imposed in Luzon to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19).

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city, which usually earns the most from tourism from February until May, has missed P1.4 billion potential gross income from the industry, as a result of the lockdowns imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Magalong said the potential income is spread in the four months, which are among the peak months of tourist arrivals.

City Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Alec Mapalo, in a Facebook post, said tourism-related businesses were projected to lose around P375 million for April alone.

“That’s considering tourist arrival of the same month last year, and assuming an average spending of P2,700 per tourist. And that’s only the economy above ground. A big chunk of tourism revenue is an underground economy, which many locals rely on for day-to-day living,” Mapalo wrote on his post.

The Baguio Tourism Council, Magalong said, has already come up with its proposal and plans of action to revive Baguio’s tourism industry, although he said the city government does not expect the sector to bounce back immediately after the ECQ is lifted.

“We are expecting the tourism sector to ‘normalize’ by September,” Magalong said.

He said the city has been engaging the various sectors to come up with a workable plan for Baguio after April 30.

“Every sector is coming up with a recovery plan. Ito ‘yung mga tinutukan so that by May, they will be finalized and we can already execute them.”

He admitted none of the city’s existing plans focused on a pandemic, such as the Covid-19.

“Not a single plan touched on this kind of pandemic, so what happened is, we executed the actions (response) as we deal with the pandemic,” he said. – Jane B. Cadalig