Mayor Benjamin Magalong said Tuesday the local government is eyeing to open Baguio to tourists by September.
Magalong said in a television interview that the reopening of the country’s Summer Capital would still depend on the COVID-19 situation of its nearby regions.
“Based on our timeline, we will open up our economy and tourism sometime in September with the assumption that things normalize in NCR, Region III, and Region IV,” Magalong said on ANC.
According to the Mayor, the number of tourists visiting Baguio City before coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic started in the country could go up as high as 500,000.
If Baguio City would reopen in September, Magalong said he plans to accept 10% of that number of visitors initially.
“This time, when we open up, it’s just like applying for a visa, and that’s precisely what we’re doing right now with returning Baguio residents… You know the best way to do it is probably to start with about 10% and then start to learn the dynamics of it,” Magalong explained.
“Once we’re used to managing the 10% and learn the dynamics of it, we start to increase it… 20%, 30%, 40%,” he added.
As of this posting, the coronavirus cases in Baguio City have reached 44, with only seven active cases. The Mayor attributed the increasing number of COVID-19 cases due to the return of workers and residents in Baguio City.
“We have a program allowing workers to return to the City of Baguio, and in fact we were able to detect two workers who are positive case,” he said.
“Another is returning Baguio residents. Again we were able to detect because everyone has to go to triage. Third is ‘yung OFW. In fact when we started ‘yung OFW sometime in April 17, wala pang 16 nakakarating na OFW. We already detected immediately two OFWs coming from US who are positive,” he added.
In April, the National Task Force COVID-19 hailed Baguio City as the model local government unit for managing to keep its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases low.
Magalong earlier said they were able to keep their coronavirus cases low because of their preparedness and sense of urgency.