LIVELY TOURISM. The Lions head at Kennon Road, shown in this photo taken in March 2022, is still a popular photo opportunity spot among tourists in Baguio City. The city tourism office on Thursday (April 21, 2022) said it expects some 50,000 to 60,000 tourists to arrive during the remaining weekends of the summer season. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – The city government is projecting that at least 50,000 to 60,000 tourists will be arriving to spend their weekends in this summer capital. 
Aloysius Mapalo, city tourism officer, said on Thursday the projection is based on the trend of travel, as tourists register and get their quick response (QR) codes from the online tourist registration portal as the date of their actual travel nears. 
“We can't have summer numbers this early, registration peaks when nearing actual travel dates,” he said.
Mapalo said pre-pandemic data shows that Holy Week is the peak tourism season in the city, followed by the Panagbenga Festival, Christmas season and the summer months. 
During this year's Holy Week from April 14-17, the city saw the arrival of 87,262 tourists with 40,612 of them arriving on April 14. 
Mapalo said around 45 percent of the arrivals stayed in accommodation establishments that have resumed operation like hotels, inns, and transient houses for two to three days while the others either stayed with friends or relatives, or were day visitors only.
Andrew Pinero, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) spokesperson and the client relations manager of the Baguio Country Club (BCC), in a phone interview, said “we were fully booked during Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Our member hotels also said they received a good number of guests during the Holy Week.” 
He said the industry is slowly picking up after a major slump brought about by the lockdowns as a result of the surges and peaking of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases. 
Pinero said they continue to be vigilant against the virus to avoid a repeat of the strict community quarantine restrictions that severely affected the tourism industry. 
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Tourism said the industry suffered the most when people were made to stay home. 
Hotels, restaurants, resorts, and destinations closed, resulting in workers being retrenched from their jobs. 
“We don’t want that to happen again. That is why while the city government has eased its protocols, we are maintaining the health and safety protocols in our facilities because, in the end, it will be the industry that will suffer in case of another spike in cases,” Pinero said. (PNA)