After their tourism sector suffered when the coronavirus hit the country, Baguio City will be rebranding itself as a safe vacation spot, according to the city’s mayor Benjamin Magalong. They might even open to tourists as early as September this year.
How it was before the pandemic
Prior to the lockdown, Baguio saw up to 500,000 tourists whenever there were events like the Panagbenga Flower Festival. Summer would also see a spike in visitors as people from the lowlands longed for the cool weather of the mountains. Families spending a vacation together, friends on a road trip, foreigners who want to escape the heat of the cities down below — all of these were part of the tourist crowd the city consistently drew in.
What to expect post-lockdown
However, with the social distancing requirements because of the pandemic, Baguio will only accept about a tenth of their original tourist crowd — which means just about 50,000. Magalong says the city may increase this number gradually given that the local government has “learn[ed] the dynamics.”
Due to the pandemic, the city lost more than a billion in revenues, and small businesses have been suffering. To combat this, the local government is planning tourism programs, while an initial PHP 100-million stimulus package will be used largely to help micro and small businesses.
A safe vacation spot
The rebranding of the city comes with the implementation of health standards to comply with the requirements of a world riddled with coronavirus. The number of visitors would be limited to as low as 50,000 by requiring travel passes. “It’s just like applying for a visa,” the mayor said.
The travel passes must be presented at a checkpoint, and visitors would be required to go through two levels of medical triage to show they are in good health before being allowed entry into the city.
At the moment, Baguio City only has a recorded total of 43 patients who tested positive for COVID-19, with only seven being active cases.
What you can do when you get there
There are a lot of things you can do in the Summer Capital of the Philippines, but all of these are, of course, subject to the new health standards.
- Book a pretty Airbnb where you can just kick back and relax and enjoy the cool weather
- Enjoy dining at the many restaurant options in the City of Pines
- Take a walk in this 24-garden open space
- Hitch a horseback ride around Wright Park
- Get your skating shoes on at Burnham Park
- Check out the breathtaking scene at Mines View Observation Deck
- Pick some strawberries at the nearby farm at La Trinidad
What do you think of this new plan? Tell us below!