2021 tourist arrivals still far from pre-pandemic levels

2021 tourist arrivals still far from pre-pandemic levels

Baguio City’s tourist arrivals last year totaled 328,000, a number slightly higher than the 2020 data but still way below the pre-pandemic levels.

City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo said the city recorded 270,000 arrivals in 2020 while the pre-Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or 2019 record was at 1.5 million.

In the Ugnayan press briefing Jan. 5, Mapalo said the only time the tourism business peaked last 2021 was in December when actual arrivals reached 147,145 which he said is 80 percent of pre-pandemic level which was 180,000 in 2019.

He said the December number may even have exceeded the 2019 total if essential travels were included in the count.

“That was for December but for the entire year, malayo pa po tayo sa dati,” he said.

He said the reopening to fully vaccinated tourists from November to December helped the tourism industry gain momentum to recover slowly after a two-month slump caused by the delta variant-driven surge in COVID cases and the off-on-on status of the business earlier in the year due to the other variants.

“We were looking forward to continuing the momentum and brisk business activities but we had to be cautious,” he said.

Due to the omicron variant threat, the city effective Jan. 6 reduced the limit of acceptance of leisure and non-essential travels through visita.baguio.gov.ph to 4,000 per day while accommodation establishments were to limit guest capacity to 70 percent occupancy.

Negative test results were also required for tourists traveling from areas under Alert Level 2 as a preventive measure.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong assured that the city is aligning its proactive plans across all affected sectors “so that travel can still take place in a safe environment with minimized risk.” – Aileen P. Refuerzo