September opening of Baguio tourism conditional

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BAGUIO CITY  – The opening of the city’s tourism industry to visitors by September will still depend on the status of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the possibility of a second wave of the deadly virus in the city.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong informed members of the Baguio Tourism Council (BTC) Board of Directors during their special meeting at the City Mayor’s Office last Monday that the projected opening of the local tourism industry by September will be conditional based on the aforesaid assumptions.

He pointed out that if the situation in Metro Manila will normalize and there will be no second wave of COVID-19 in the city, the city’s tourism industry could be opened for visitors but with strict compliance to established health and safety protocols.

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However, the city chief executive stated that if COVID cases in Metro Manila will remain high coupled with the occurrence of a second wave of the virus in the city, then the projected September opening of the tourism industry will have to be adjusted as the situation would be volatile.

The mayor admitted the tourism sector is one of the heavily impacted industries in the city thus efforts are being done by relevant stakeholders to revive the tourism-related businesses that will contribute in perking up and priming the city economy.

According to him, the city is in the process of rolling out several recovery and resiliency programs as the tourism industry in the city transitions to a new normal, thus, the implementation of aggressive promotion and marketing events and activities is needed where these must abide by the new normal regulations in line with new practices consistent with the city’s prevailing health situation, protecting the economy and social environment.

Magalong supported the BTC’s initiative to rebrand the city’s tourism industry to focus on new assets and new ways that will attract targeted markets, a rejuvenating natural environment, a safe and secured well-nourishing experience of sharing and caring, and a desire to be part of the city’s enriching cultural heritage that is sustainably anchored on creatively-felt diverse customs, traditions, and arts in existential harmony with each other.

Among the objectives of the rebranding of the city’s tourism industry include promotion and propagating the new normal in Baguio tourism practices and standards; showcasing a caring and hospitable community, advocating the protection of the environment and upholding responsible and sustainable tourism; promoting travel as a way of life premised on strict observance of health protocols for good health and safety, whether at home, at work, at play or in leisure, and highlighting new travel experiences with the rich cultures, traditions and the arts of the city and the region.

The BTC is the private sector partner of the city in the aggressive promotion and marketing of the city’s tourism industry with Magalong, City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente, Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo, and Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano as the city’s representative to the said council.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis

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