BAGUIO Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that the city is studying the impact of tourism on Baguio’s COVID incidence as well as the safe threshold for tourist arrivals, but the current drop in tourist arrivals has stalled the study.
“It is better that we have enough data, instead of making analytics just based on initial data and we make decisions that might be half-baked,” Magalong said.
According to Magalong, the number of tourists has dropped to less than half of the previous figures in early March that reached more than 21,000 visitors.
Currently, Magalong says the city is logging only around 9,000 visitors a day, which has set back attempts to study tourist thresholds and limitations.
“We should hit 20,000 per day to properly study the threshold, but we are only hitting 8,000, 9,000, visitors, so it is lacking and it will be delayed again. It would be better if we consistently hit 15,000, around that range, 20,000, or 25,000. We should get figures within that range so at least our data will be relevant,” Magalong said.
Magalong added that the rehabilitation of the Botanical Garden, which reopened recently, has contributed to tourism significantly in the city.
He added that the other rehabilitation projects are expected to bring in more tourists.
Magalong said that even with the high numbers of tourists seen in the city, the COVID-19 situation remains manageable, but also that the city is expecting a slight increase. However, the increase is expected to be within the city’s projections for overall safety, he said.
He also added that with the increase in fuel prices, tourism is expected to drop more, especially among those with private vehicles; but he maintained that the city’s public transport buses are still an option.