Issue of November 4, 2018
     
NEWS
Benguet
 
OPINION
 

2018
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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Tourism plan to focus on homegrown artists
by Pamela Mariz Geminiano / PNA

The City Tourism Office is now finalizing the crafting of a comprehensive tourism development plan that will highlight homegrown artists in a bid to keep Baguio's “creative city” tag.

“We really need to find out what tourists are really looking for. Now we can identify our assets that can be highlighted to give an experiential tourism for the tourists,” Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius said.

Mapalo gave a glimpse of what could be expected from the upcoming tourism program. He said “small” local artists will be given a space in tourism promotion, as they greatly contribute to the experiential tourism that the city aims to focus on. 

He said the tourism plan is aimed at retaining Baguio's “creative city” tag from the Unesco. 

Mapalo said the tag is an affirmation of Baguio’s identity as a city of creative people.

“Tourists flock to the city not only because of our cool climate, but also because of the creativity of the people in the communities. Witnessing creativity through people is a one-of-a-kind experience,” he said.

People visiting Baguio often include seeing, buying, or experiencing the city’s local arts and crafts in their itinerary.

Aside from museums of art and crafts, there are also shops that not only offer finished products, but also allow visitors to see how the products are made step by step.

One of the favorite arts and crafts destinations is the museum of National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto Cabrera in Asin Road, Tuba.

Tam-awan Village is another famous site. It offers indigenous crafts through  its services from sketching sessions with live models, to displays of Cordillera lifestyle art, including the traditional huts in the highland region.

Narda’s Arts and Crafts and the Easter Weaving Room are two more artistic enterprises that showcase crafts, which visitors can also try for themselves.

While finalizing the tourism plan, Mapalo said the city is also staging in November the Baguio Creative Festival, which will highlight homegrown artists of the city.

“This will be the beginning of grassroots empowerment,” he said.

Baguio City remains to be one of the country’s top tourist spots based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, receiving a total of 1.5 million tourists in 2017, or 77 percent of the region’s total tourist arrivals of 1.96 million.

“We are still in the process of improving the branding of the city, to sustain the influx of foreign and domestic tourists, who would want to have a good and memorable experience,” Mapalo said.

Such experience is what would make visitors come back and say good things about the city, Mapalo added.


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