The acute gastroenteritis outbreak has not significantly affected the city’s tourism industry based on the number of visitors who continue to troop to the Summer Capital on the weekends.
This was announced by Mayor Benjamin Magalong during a press forum on Jan. 14 at City Hall, where he said more tourists are expected in time for this year’s much-awaited Panagbenga scheduled to commence on Feb. 1.
While the mayor admitted there were some visitors who cancelled their travel to the city due to the outbreak, he insisted that the number of cancellations were not “significant”.
In a separate interview, City Tourism Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo bolstered Magalong’s assertion.
“There were some concerns but it did not really affect (tourist) arrivals. There might have been cancellations but it is not a significant number,” Mapalo said.
Magalong added the city’s largest mall reported a 20 percent decline in food sales due to the outbreak, in a period when it expected a 10-percent hike in profits.
To counter this, he said the city government has been coming up with a series of social media posts and press releases that “things are getting back to normal” in the city.
Before the city government can declare that the outbreak is finally over, the mayor said he would rely on the advice of health experts “who would need to identify the cause and circumstance of the gastroenteritis surge.”
Joining the press forum were Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, who chairs the city council’s committee on health, City Health Officer Celia Flor Brillantes, City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit Chief Donabel Panes, Dr. Ian Christian Gonzales of the Department of Health- Epidemiology Bureau, and Engr. Fernando Peria of the Baguio Water District. – Gaby B. Keith