More than eight hundred accommodation establishments in the city remain closed because of the strict implementation of the restrictions intended to contain the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Supervising City Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius C. Mapalo disclosed that the number of accommodation establishments that remain to be closed is much greater than the establishments that are already operating for the limited number of tourists allowed to visit the city daily.
He claimed that prior to the prevailing health crisis, there were more than 1,200 accommodation establishments registered with the city government, the majority of which were small businesses which were the heavily impacted ones when the various levels of community quarantine were imposed around the country.
The city tourism officer stated that since the city government started to gradually and safely revive the tourism industry last year, there were some 400 accommodation businesses that were able to resume operations even if the situation in the city had been close-open due to the previous threat of the more infectious Delta variant.
With the recent re-opening of the city to tourists, Mapalo stipulated that the local government is hopeful that the accommodation establishments that are not yet operational will be able to gradually and safely resume their operations with the expected influx of visitors even if the number of travelers to the city is currently being limited to around 2,000 daily.
According to him, travel to the city will continue to pass through the established registration platform, visita.baguio.gov.ph, complete with the attached vaccination documents and booking in the local accommodation establishments where they will stay for a maximum of 5 days.
Further, he added that travelers who had been given their respective QR-coded tourist pass (QTP) will be allowed entry to the city but they will still have to undergo the usual triaging at the central triage area at the Baguio Convention Center to check on their documents before being allowed to roam around the city.
Mapalo said that the city government also accredited some 3 hotels in the city which can triage their guests to help in speeding up the triaging process and reduce the lining up of people in the central triage area.
These accredited hotels allowed to conduct the required triaging of their guests are the Baguio Country Club (BCC), the Camp John Hay Manor and the Forest Lodge.
Since the city started allowing the entry of visitors, the tourism officer noted that there are around 5,000 requests for the issuance of QTP in the registration platform daily that is why prospective visitors are forced to transfer the dates of their visit to later dates that are available because only 2,000 travels are allowed based on existing guidelines that had been crafted for the said purpose.
He expressed hope that the ongoing gradual revival of the local tourism industry will gain ground in the coming weeks with the drop in COVID-19 cases so that the celebration of the Yuletide season will be enjoyable for both the residents and tourists alike. By Dexter A. See