BAGUIO CITY – The city’s economy continues to stabilize following the infusion of more than P5 billion earned during the 23rd edition of Panagbenga or the Baguio flower festival, the city’s major crowd drawing event.
Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) media officer Andrew Pinero said that big and small businesses in the city benefitted from the more than 2 million foreign and domestic visitors who flocked to the city to witness the two major events of the Panagbenga, particularly the grand streetdancing parade last February 24, 2018, and the grand float parade last February 25, 2018.
According to the tourism department, a typical local tourist spends more than P2,500 per day for food, transportation and other basic needs while a foreign tourist spends more than P5,000 per day for various needs when visiting different places of their choice.
“We were surprised to realize a 95 to 100 percent occupancy for our members during the whole month of February and the first week of March. The heavy influx of foreign and domestic visitors to the city for the Panagbenga highlights only shows the real gains of the festival over the past twenty three years, thus, the need for us to continue working on the needed innovations that will entice people to consider Baguio City as their preferred destination at this time of the year,” Pinero stressed.
The HRAB officer claimed some 90 percent of the estimated amount circulated in the city during the conduct of the two major highlights of the festival where there was a huge influx of visitors from different parts of the global village.
According to him, businesses around the city were able to earn during the duration of the flower festival that is why the contribution of the Panagbenga to the local economy.
Pinero added most of the visitors who stayed for the grand streetdancing and grand float parades opted to stay for another night in the city to avoid the traffic jams in the lowlands triggered by the huge volume of vehicles going back to work the next working day.
Of the over 2 million estimated visitors that flocked to the city during the Panagbenga highlights, he revealed 95 percent were domestic tourists and only 5 percent were foreigners but the amount spent while in the city contributed in sustaining the robust local economy.
Pinero said tourists started flocking to the city on the evening of February 23 until early morning of February 24 but the most number of visitors came in the afternoon of February 24 up to the early morning of February 25 as most of the visitors preferred to witness the 24 beautifully decorated floats paraded around the central business district. He said that the inclusion of Panagbenga in the registry of International Festivals and Events Association and the inclusion of Baguio City in the list of the Creative Cities Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have also contributed in enticing visitors to witness the new attractions of the flower festival. By Dexter A. See