BAGUIO CITY – Some thirty beauty contestants of the prestigious Miss Universe pageant in Manila will visit the country’s undisputed Summer Capital as part of their tight schedule before their coronation night at the SM Mall of Asia late January next year.
Anthony de Leon, general manager of the Baguio Country Club and president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB), said the visit by the beauties selected by the Miss Universe organizers for the less than 24 hour-visit will add international exposure for the city that will help boost the local tourism industry.
“The city’s private sector will shell out at least P15 million to the Miss Universe organizers aside from the expenses for the food, transportation and accommodation just to bring the contestants to the city for various activities lined up by the local organizers led by executives of the Baguio Country Club,” de Leon stressed.
He disclosed among the initial activities for the Miss Universe contestants and reigning Miss Universe titlist Pia Wurtzbach include a golf tournament, tree planting and fashion show to maximize their stay in the city.
Since the time that the Duterte administration announced that the Philippines will host the Miss Universe beauty pageant next year, officials of the city’s only exclusive club lobbied with the Miss Universe pageant organizers and the tourism department for Baguio’s inclusion in the itinerary of the beauty contestants.
De Leon admitted they had a series of negotiations and lobbying before they convinced the pageant organizers to include Baguio in the list of places to be by the beauty pageant contestants.
The security during the visit will be tight that is why organizers want to confine them to a limited area during their tour at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Camp John Hay (CJH), BCC and the Presidential Mansion.
The BCC official said the date of their expected visit in the city is still being arranged with the international and national Miss Universe organizers to fall within the three days they will be in the country prior to their coronation night.
De Leon explained many lawmakers and local governments submitted proposals to the Miss Universe organizers even offering certain amounts just to have the beauty contestants in their place for added international exposure. Baguio is one of the luckiest to be shortlisted through the diligent negotiating and lobbying efforts of the private sector that will perk up the international exposure of Baguio as a prime tourist destination.
The Miss Universe contestants will arrive in the city on a flight chartered by the local organizers and will attend the various activities that will be finalized for their short stint in the city before flying back to Manila for their coronation night.
By Dexter A. See