DOT chief cites Panagbenga gains

Tourism Secretary Wanda T. Teo commended the local government and the private sector for the sustained gains of the annual staging of the Panagbenga or the Baguio flower festival that have contributed in the achievement of the increase in foreign tourist arrivals of the Duterte administration.

Teo, who was the city’s guest of honor and speaker during the grand float parade, one of the major highlights of the 23rd edition of the Panagbenga, said that Baguio has become one of the favourite destination of foreign tourists arriving in the country annually because of their desire to witness the major highlights of the Panagbenga which was conceptualized to sustain the influx of visitors to the city during the lean tourism months.

“The Duterte administration is elated over the improving magnitude of the Panagbenga through the years that is why Baguio still remains as one of the preferred tourist destinations in the country,” Secretary Teo stressed.

The DOT official underscored that Panagbenga owns the distinction of being the only festival in the country that is registered in the International Festivals and Events Association, thus, the need for concerned stakeholders to continue introducing the needed innovations on the different events being lined up for the month-long celebration to guarantee the continuous influx of visitors to the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.

Further, Baguio’s inclusion in the prestigious list of creative cities for crafts and folk arts under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) showed the city’s continuous success in gaining national and international recognitions purposely for tourism.

Teo was impressed on the way the 24 flower-decorated floats were prepared and paraded along the 3-kilometer parade route from Upper Session road up to the Melvin Jones grandstand where the tens of thousands of residents and visitors had the chance to take photographs of the floats. According to her, the Duterte administration remains bullish in increasing the country’s foreign tourist arrivals to at least 10 million in the next several years after the government was able to record over 5 million foreign tourist arrivals last year.

Secretary Teo assured the continuous support of the tourism department to the Panagbenga organizers in sustaining the growth of the festival so that residents will continue to reap the fruits of the city’s robust tourism industry.

Under the standards of the tourism department, a foreign tourist spends at least P5,000 per day for food, transportation, lodging and other basic needs when visiting their desired destinations while a domestic tourist spends approximately P2,500 per day for similar needs when going around the country.

Teo said the Panagbenga has given true meaning to the agency’s slogan ‘Its More Fun in the Philippines” because the numerous activities that have been lined up for the annual conduct of the festival have showcased the rich culture and traditions of the people in the Cordillera.

She called on the residents and visitors to continue patronizing the Panagbenga events for them to contribute in aggressively promoting the festival in the global market to guarantee that the city will be able to get its due share from the increasing number of foreign tourists in the country annually. - Dexter A. See