Baguio City eyeing ‘bubble tourism’ with nearby provinces in September

A Baguio stall selling strawberry and ube jam, goods the city is famous for <i>Photo: Baguio City PIO / FB,</i>
A Baguio stall selling strawberry and ube jam, goods the city is famous for Photo: Baguio City PIO / FB,

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said today that he is looking into the possibility of allowing tourists from nearby areas to enter Baguio City, in a bid to revive the summer capital’s tourism industry.

Magalong told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo that Baguio is welcoming tourists from La Trinidad starting September, a privilege that could be extended to residents of nearby provinces.

“[O]n Sept. 1, the governors of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and La Union will be here so we can talk about bubble tourism. We’re calling it ridge and reef, from the mountainside to the coastline. [Tourism] Secretary Bernadette Puyat will also be here to preside over the meeting,” he said in English and Filipino.

Read: 4 people arrested for pretending to be Baguio City health workers

Magalong said that tourists from Metro Manila might be allowed to visit the city in the future, but Baguio City Hall first needs to conduct a “pilot test” with the residents of the said provinces. Tourists will be tested for COVID-19 using an antigen that could provide results in as fast as 15 minutes. However, the said test has yet to be approved by the Department of Health.

Baguio City has suffered losses of at least PHP1.6 billion (US$32.8 million) in gross revenues from April to June due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, Magalong said, citing a study conducted by the city’s Hotel and Restaurant Association.

The city is currently under the general community quarantine. As of yesterday, Baguio has 297 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 8 deaths and 224 recoveries.

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