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Baguio still experiencing low tourist arrivals due to COVID-19 pandemic

/ 02:03 PM July 13, 2021
BAGUIO ‘PASALUBONG’ Fresh strawberries are among the popular “pasalubong” (gift) items that tourists buy at Baguio City’s public market. —EV ESPIRITU

BAGUIO ‘PASALUBONG’ Fresh strawberries are among the popular “pasalubong” (gift) items that tourists buy at Baguio City’s public market. —EV ESPIRITU

MANILA, Philippines — Hailed as the summer capital of the country, Baguio City is still struggling in terms of tourism due to the low turnout of tourists in the city amid the pandemic, said Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Tuesday.

In a televised briefing, Magalong said the city opened its doors to tourists in early June, but the number of their arrivals in the city remained below its figures before the pandemic.

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“In fact, as early as first week of June nag-open na kami kaya lang nag expect kami na tataas sana. Kaya lang, umabot lang kami sa 12,030 tourist arrivals lang which is just about 10 percent nung pre-pandemic figure,” Magalong said.

(In fact, as early as the first week of June we already opened so we just expected our numbers to go up. However, we only reached 12,030 tourist arrivals which is just about 10 percent of the pre-pandemic figure.)

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Magalong said they increased their target to 3,000 tourists a day, but only as much as 700 tourists come during weekdays and up to 1,500 tourists during weekends.

“So talagang ini-increase namin ang aming allocation that is about 3,000 a day pero during weekdays umaabot lang kami nga 500 to 700. Seven hundred, meaning, pagdating na ng mga Thursday, Friday,” he said.

(So, we are definitely increasing our allocation to about 3,000 a day but during weekdays we only reach 500 to 700.  Seven hundred every Thursday, Fridays.)

“Pagdating ng weekend, gabi ng Friday hanggang Saturday umaakyat lang yan ng mga 1,500, so mababa pa rin ang dating ng mga turista sa amin,” he added.

(When the weekend comes from Friday night to Saturday, it only goes up by about 1,500, so the number of tourists coming to us is still low.)

Protocols to be observed

According to Magalong, there are two ways to enter the city for both Baguio residents and tourists.

For tourists, they must first register through clicking this link while returning Baguio residents or those who have official travel passes must register via this link.

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He also mentioned Baguio City’s policy of allowing tourists who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 without having to present a negative swab test result.

“For Baguio residents or visitors who are fully vaccinated but were not vaccinated in the city of Baguio, they still have to go to triage. Pagdating sa triage dun i-vavalidate ang kanilang vaccination card if they’re fully vaccinated. If legitimate yung kanilang dokumento then they don’t have to go through swab test,” he added.

(But for Baguio residents or visitors who are fully vaccinated but were not vaccinated in the city of Baguio, they still have to go to the triage. And the officials will validate their vaccination card and if it’s legitimate then they don’t have to go through the swab test.)

According to the city’s public information office as of July 12, the total COVID-19 cases in Baguio have already reached 14,725 comprising 604 active cases, 290 deaths, and 13,831 recoveries. — Sofia Vertucio, trainee

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