Baguio tourist arrivals just a tenth of pre-pandemic figure: mayor
The current rate of tourist arrivals in summer capital Baguio City is just 10 percent of its pre-pandemic figure, the highland city's Mayor Benjamin Magalong said on Tuesday.
Baguio in the first week of June opened to receive 3,000 tourists daily. But only 500 to 700 holiday-makers arrive daily on weekdays, while 1,500 flock to the city on weekends, he said.
For the whole June, the city welcomed about 12,030 tourists, "which is just about 10 percent nung (of the) pre-pandemic figure," said the mayor.
"Mababa pa rin ang dating ng mga turista sa amin. At the same time, nararamdaman na rin namin na tumataas uli ‘yong aming mga cases, so medyo naghihigpit kami ngayon sa mga border control," Magalong said in a televised press briefing.
(The arrival of tourists here is still low. At the same time, we feel that our cases are increasing again, so we are slightly tightening border controls.)
City authorities, for instance, are making sure that tourists could not post as returning residents, he said.
Baguio has tallied a total of 14,725 cases, including 640 infections that were active on Monday, the city’s Public Information Office said on Facebook.
Contact-tracers in Baguio were down to 14 from 75, after funds from the national government ran out, Magalong said.
The remaining contact-tracers are "overwhelmed" with new daily cases, and are getting help from the police, he said.
City authorities are able to locate an average of 15 close contacts for every patient with COVID-19, added the mayor.
He said he has asked help from the business process outsourcing industry and the World Health Organization to source additional contact-tracers, whose services would be free to the local government.
Magalong, who is the country's contact-tracing "czar", said authorities are also retraining 249,000 contact-tracers nationwide.
The government, he said, is also fast-tracking its digital contact-tracing platform.