May 19, 2024

Tourist arrivals in Baguio City noticeably picked up during the month with visitors coming up to witness the return of the Panagbenga Festival and some of its traditional activities.
City Supervising Tourism Officer Aloysius Mapalo reported travel requests went up to 83,034 from March 7 to 13 when the first set of weekend events was held and to 96,503 from March 14 to 20 when more highlights were staged, while actual arrivals were 34,418 and 45,521 respectively. 
The week before this period, the city had 66,746 travel requests and 28,453 arrivals.
Mapalo said the figures are expected to further increase this weekend based on the current number of requests being processed in the registration platform visita.baguio.gov.ph.
Mapalo said the trend proved how people missed the festival which did not have public staging for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Department of Tourism-Cordillera Director Jovy Ganongan said they are looking forward to more visitors coming to the city and for tourism to reopen in other parts of the region.
“But more than the celebration and conduct of tourism in the city, more important is the message that we are ready for tourism and we are ready to embrace the new normal situation,” Ganongan said.
She said this has been observed as the city restarted its tourist activities while observing the minimum health protocols, which is helping boost confidence among tourists and the community as well.
With Baguio being a gateway to the Cordillera, Ganongan expressed confidence visitors will also go to the provinces prompting them to come up with new offers that are appropriate in the new normal.
While the road to recovery has started, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio president Anthony de Leon said the accommodation sector is still from recovering as far as HRAB members are concerned.
Although most hotels are back in operations since December, de Leon said most of them are still at the stage of learning to stand up again and trying to cope.
“Because no matter how many people will stay in your hotel, no matter how many visitors will be recorded, recovery won’t happen in a span of a few months. We lost hundreds of millions in terms of potential business for more than two years.You can only say you are starting to recover when you have already covered your previous losses and begin to earn again,” de Leon said.
He added they are hoping things will be much better for the industry in the succeeding years. – Hanna C. Lacsamana with report from Aileen P. Refuerzo