BAGUIO has suffered some P3.5 billion worth of losses sustained in the tourism sector alone over the course of last year because of the pandemic.
The costs come from lost potential income as the city shut itself down from outside foreign and domestic tourism alike.
According to Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong, some 1.7 million tourists arrived in Baguio in 2019.
Meanwhile, in 2020, only around 232,000 tourists arrived in Baguio, no more than a seventh of the numbers in the same period of the preceding year.
During the height of the Luzon-wide lockdowns from April to June 2020, local tourism sustained P1.6 billion worth of lost potential income while some P550 million worth of wages and earnings by tourism-related businesses and their employees in the city were lost.
Magalong said however that the city was able to acquire some P1.8 billion from the tourism sector near the end of last year as the city reopened to tourism, particularly the Ridge to Reef bubble connecting Baguio City with Ilocos Region territories.
In the wake of the pandemic, Baguio earmarked some P100 million pesos worth of available financial assistance in the form of interest-free loans in the Baguio Revitalization Actions for a Vibrant Economy-Economic Stimulus Package (BRAVE-ESP), but no more than a fifth of it has been utilized, with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the city hesitant to take out loans during an economic downturn with bleak prospects.
Magalong meanwhile said that the city is still looking to open itself up to tourism as the city is heavily dependent on tourist income, but also while sustaining health protocols.
The city’s tourism industry and similarly situated businesses continue to be heavily impacted by the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic amidst ongoing efforts by the tourism department and local governments to revive the same.