Luzon’s first DOT tourist rest area to rise in Baguio City
BAGUIO CITY -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) in partnership with the Tourism Infrastructure Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the Baguio City local government broke ground on the first Tourist Rest Area (TRA) in Luzon Monday,
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco led the signing of the provisional Memorandum of Agreement (MO A) held at the Baguio Country Club, which formalizes the establishment of the TRA to be constructed near the Lion's Head, a favorite layover spot of tourists along Kennon Road.
"We’re very happy to help in their initiatives by adding a component to tourism that will make the travel experience of coming to Baguio even more convenient and stress-free, because we're providing the Tourist Rest Area to have clean and decent restrooms, a pasalubong center, and a tourist information center. We foresee that this can add further to the already very vibrant and dynamic tourism scene here in Baguio" said Frasco, who was joined by TIEZA Chief Operations Officer Mark Lapid, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, and Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan represented by city legal officer Richard Tayag during the MOA signing.
Under the agreement, the TRAs will be constructed by TIEZA and upon completion, the Baguio local government unit (LGU) will then take charge of the operations and maintenance of the facility.
The DOT will also approve any of the LGU's requests relating to the financial sustainability of the TRA, such as the opening of pasalubong centers and other tourism-related businesses within the TRA.
Visitor arrivals to Baguio City have since the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions shown a consistently increasing trend.
The pandemic hampered the tourism environment of Baguio, with the City only recording over 267,000 visitors in 2021 and 268,000 in 2020, as compared to the over 1.5 million in 2019. The first 10 months of 2022 posted a growing tourist traffic to the city, with more than 474,000 visitor arrivals recorded.
Last October, the DOT broke ground on TRAs in four different locations in Visayas and Mindanao islands. Two TRAs were launched in the Visayas while the two others were in Mindanao in Bukidnon and in Samal Island in Davao. The Baguio TRA is the first ever in Luzon, with others scheduled to be put up soon in the provinces of Bohol, Ilocos Norte, and Palawan.
"This year, the intention is to give our tourists convenience as they go along their journey understanding that the experience is not only at the destination itself but also the journey itself," Frasco said.
“We're maximizing domestic tourism as well by having close coordination [and] collaboration with our local government units such as Baguio City to ensure that we get Filipinos that are from the South and Central Philippines here to Baguio, and from here in Baguio at the North to Central Philippines and the South,” she added. DOT Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy