THE tourism industry in Baguio City lost an estimated P7 billion as an effect of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic in 2020.
Jovy Ganongan, officer-in-charge of the Department of Tourism (DOT)-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) said despite the losses, tourism-related measures were instituted to rebuild and revive the sector of the country’s Summer Capital and the region.
“What we recorded was 1,536,458 tourist arrivals in the whole of Baguio and if we are to equate it with the conservative estimation on economic losses, we are looking at P7,557,750,000. P2 million is equated in the expenses of tourists under a conservative estimate P2,500 per day while staying in Baguio for one and half day,” Gonongan said.
Among the tourism revival measures implemented by Baguio City was the Reef to Ridge program in collaboration with Ilocos.
“We were closed from April to September 2020 because of the lockdown but Baguio City was one of the first to open its tourism under the Reef to Ridge program with Region 1 (Ilocos) to which we implemented the Visita systems data and since October 2020 to March 2021, 66,811 registered with the Visita apps or close to 58 percent were the actual arrivals based on the triage report. It shows that there is a decline of tourist arrivals of around 82.5 percent compared to the 2019,” the regional tourism official stated.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-CAR, regional tourism satellite accounts estimates show that in 2019, the average expenditure of a foreign tourist in the Cordillera region, including balik bayans, is around P7,392, while domestic tourists or overnight visitors spend P3,827, and for same day visitors, the average expenditure was estimated to be around P2,800.
The expenses are broken down in six areas consisting of accommodation services, food and beverage, transport services expenses, travel agencies and other reservation services, entertainment and recreation services and tourism characteristic services particularly shopping.
CAR’s tourism industry, based on PSA records, earn around P10 billion, which accounts for only 0.3 percent of the country’s total earnings from the industry in 2019.
Baguio remains the top tourism hub in the region, accounting for 75.3 percent of the region’s arrival.
Transport was seen as the biggest area of expenses by tourists followed by accommodation.