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Baguio wields high hopes on tourism rebound with easing up of restrictions

Hopes are up for the city’s tourism industry to bounce back vibrant as the city moved to reopen tourist registration beginning Oct. 25 after a two-month slump caused by the Delta variant-driven spike in Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

But the city is treading with caution to ensure that the health and safety of residents will not be compromised especially with the continuing threat of the Delta variant.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said that while the city was able to bring the cases down affording some leeway to ease up on restrictions, it will continue to do so “slowly, safely and surely” through the imposition of qualifications and requirements for leisure travelers.

He said the tourist registration will be limited to fully vaccinated individuals and negative-tested minor family member who will still be subjected to requirements like pre-approved registration with the online enlistment platform visita.baguio.gov.ph, among others before they will be allowed entry.

Monitoring for strict compliance to minimum public health standards (MPHS), such as the proper wearing of face mask and shield, social distancing and frequent hand sanitizing will also be imposed on both tourists and establishments as part of safety measures.

Beginning Friday late afternoon, tourists began flocking the city as vehicular traffic began to build up along major road networks to the city, thus exciting the tourism industry here to overcome heavy losses.

“Hopefully our reopening will spur economic activity in our city particularly our tourism industry which was heavily impacted for the past two months because of the restrictions that we imposed to manage the cases,” Magalong said.

He hopes that the downtrend in cases will continue to provide both respite for the city’s health care system and recovery window for the economic sector. “It has not been easy but as we have been doing since the pandemic started, we will continue to strike a balance between managing our cases and giving premium to the health and safety of our constituents on the one hand and keeping our economy afloat and sustaining the people’s livelihood on the other,” he said.

The mayor said the city recognizes the efforts of its health workers and is considering their plight. “They needed rest from the recent surge that is why we did not reopen too early and first made sure that the decrease in cases is sustained in the past two weeks para makapagpahinga naman ang mga health workers natin,” he said.

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