Baguio expects more tourists under relaxed restrictions

Baguio expects more tourists under relaxed restrictions

BAGUIO CITY – The city government here expects more tourist arrivals with the opening of borders to tourists from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.

Aloysius Mapalo, Supervising Administrative Officer of the City Tourism Office, said on Friday that their portal registered 700 tourists for the weekend

On April 17 and April 18, the city received just 20 visitors.

Executive Order No. 50-A issued by Mayor Benjamin Magalong now allows the entry of tourists from GCQ and MGCQ areas provided they have the approved QR (quick response)-coded tourist pass from the online registration platform.

Tourists from high-risk areas, particularly those under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, are not yet allowed for leisure purposes.

“All tourists are mandated to undergo triage check-up to ensure that they do not have symptoms of Covid-19 aside from the negative test result,” Mapalo said.

The city government offers antigen test for PHP500 at the Baguio Convention Center, the central triage for non-residents.

A maximum limit of 3,000 per day was set by the city government but Mapalo said data from the online platform showed Baguio barely reaches 1,000 registrations daily because of restrictions.

“Those who pre-register do not necessarily arrive in Baguio,” Mapalo said.

Arrivals peaked sometime in March when a negative test result was scrapped.

“We had over 6,000 registrations but only half arrived. This was also the time that we were overwhelmed at the triage dahil sabay-sabay dumating at nakapila lahat sa triage (they arrived at the same time, creating a queue at the triage),” Mapalo said.

When negative test result was required anew, tourist registration dwindled to less than 5,000, with only 20 percent arriving.

“Tourist arrival decreased steadily after that especially during the implementation of the travel restriction from the NCR Plus bubble,” Mapalo said.

The Lenten Season sees a peak in tourism with over 100,000 visitors but for two years now, Mapalo said they had none.

From October 2020 until March 2021, tourist arrivals reached 61,574, including 24,000 in March. Liza Agoot / PNA –