'Panic mode': Baguio tourists urged to keep bookings as city appeals ban


Posted at Feb 03 2021 08:41 AM

'Panic mode': Baguio tourists urged to keep bookings as city appeals ban 1
People walk along the Baguio Night Market which was opened on the evening of December 1, 2020, more than eight months after strict quarantine measures were implemented on the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Jong Gasmena, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Tourists who have booked their visit to Baguio this month are advised to keep their reservation as the city asked for reconsideration from the tourism department, an official said Wednesday.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier said he has asked the Department of Tourism that the city be allowed to accept tourists despite its placement under general community quarantine, which bars the entry of travelers.

The city has reached out to some 3,000 travelers to hold their bookings, said tourism officer Aloysius Mapalo. Some of them may still proceed to Baguio as they have essential business in the city, he added.

"We’re advising them how it’s possible they can hold it for the meantime and then perhaps rebook or cancel for the meantime because we’re still hopeful we can open within the same month... kasi (because) we've shown naman we have a good system that will observe strictly protocols for entering visitors dito (here in) Baguio," he told ABS-CBN News.

"Nakahold po muna lahat. Nirerequest namin na i-reconsider na i-rebook on another date but we cannot tell at this time kailan pa kasi we’re still waiting nga hopefully ng aming request."

(Everything is on hold. We request them to reconsider to book another date but we cannot tell at this time when because we’re still waiting for the response to our request.)

Authorities are planning to do "another round of inspection" of around 300 hotels and accommodation given accreditation, Mapalo said. 

"Nakita namin (We saw) how efficient the system is, siguro ang magbabago lang po (maybe we'll change) how we need to remind the establishment to strictly enforce what is already in place," he said.

Only 10 percent of the city's pre-pandemic number of tourists arrived when it reopened in October, Mapalo said.

"Mas mahihirapan ulit dahil nga 'yung pagtanggap namin ng turista nung October I can say na trickles pa rin ang dumadating. It was not how it used to be," he said.

(We will find it more difficult because when we received tourists in October, I can say they came only in trickles.)

"That is why medyo nasa panic mode nga lahat (people are on panic mode) and they are asking all of these because they are preparing also how to consider yung kanilang (their) employees and staff."