BAGUIO CITY – Amid a global pandemic, the Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga 2022 still managed to attract 45,000 tourists during its last weekend alone, much to the delight of the city government.

The city government is happy with the result of the Panagbenga 2022 or the Baguio Flower Festival that opened on March 6 and ended on the 27th which boosted the business climate in the city.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong, in a recorded interview shared by the Public Information Office to the media on Tuesday, estimated up to 22,000 visitors arrived everyday since March 25. "Mga 40,000 to 45,000 last weekend na visitors so talagang marami (We had about 40,000 to 45,000 visitors over the weekend),” he said

“Very good [ang] business climate especially na andoon pa ang Session Road event natin (the Session road event was still there),” the mayor added.

He said they saw the bulk of tourists who arrived on March 26 triggering traffic congestion in the city's main thoroughfares.

To address traffic congestion, the mayor said they had to ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to temporarily remove the barricades on roads that were still deemed under construction but could already be used.

The mayor mentioned that despite the cancellation of the major crowd-drawing events like the grand street dancing and the flower float parades, the Panagbenga weekend arrivals showed the tourists' desire to be part of the annual festival of the city.

With the end of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in sight, he said the 2023 Panagbenga is expected to be even bigger.

The flower festival's major events were all canceled in 2020, with only very minor events that did not draw a big crowd being retained. The following year’s celebration was as simple.

This year’s festival, while simpler than the pre-pandemic celebrations, became a sought-after event with the arrival of thousands of tourists that also gave a boost to the local economy which was greatly affected by the pandemic. (PNA)