A STRATEGIC plan to open tourism in Baguio City is being asked.

On the move of Councilor Elaine Sembrano, a request to the City Tourism And Special Events Office and the City Environment And Parks Management Office has been made to present to the City Council a strategic readiness plan in re-opening Baguio to tourism activities under the projected tourism bubble program involving the City Of Baguio and the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan.

"There is urgency to make such a tourism program well-explained to our constituents for their appreciation of government initiatives in opening up economic activities like tourism as part of rebound measures to get the local economy geared up for growth and sustainability," Sembrano said.

"Concerned sectors of the populace have raised anxieties over safety practices that may be compromised due to the influx of tourists from other places proximate to Baguio," she added.

Heads of both offices have been asked to appear before the City

Council on Monday, September 14, to present plans and policies for the opening of tourism for areas in the Ilocos Region.

Last week, the City forged a Memorandum of Understanding with Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan to be part of a “Tourism Bubble” meant to encourage tourism and revive the economy.

The councilor said it is part of a collaborative effort in good governance for the need of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, in aid of legislation, to consider and introduce policies meant to strengthen envisioned tourism plans in ways that foster public safety, ensuring that no one, whether tourists or residents alike, is unduly put to health risks in these time of the pandemic.

During her speech at the Monday flag-raising ceremony at City Hall, Sembrano said it is about time that Baguio allows businesses to open up and make available jobs that were disrupted for workers to get back their sources of income.

"It is time to resume productive labors that will make the engines of economic growth fully activated and running at full steam. It is time to do these, but safely, slowly and steadily,” she said.

Sembrano added that everyone should not forget that tourism, alongside education, have been among the hardest hit sectors in the last five months.

"Revenues lost due to their continued closure have been staggering. But more than the loss of income (said to be nearly P6 billion across the board) is the loss of jobs, said to be over 5,000 for tourism-related and tourism-influenced enterprises. This is not what job loss has caused: the consequent depreciation of dignity, of self-esteem, of having to live beneath human respect, of having to ponder where to get the next meal for one’s family,” she said.