DOT backs domestic tourism in Baguio

A March 2, 2011 press release by the Department of Tourism

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Alberto A. Lim pushed for diversification of tourism products in Baguio City as a means of increasing visitors to the Summer Capital.

“Baguio already gets a lot of domestic tourism on its own, but it should reinvent itself,” he told local media representatives and organizers at a press briefing during the Panagbenga Festival 2011.

While he acknowledged that Baguio City remains popular among domestic tourists for its climate and accessibility, the Secretary said adding attractions will be key in sustaining the numbers.

He cited museums like National Artist Ben Cabrera’s BenCab Museum, which the Secretary visited himself, and other cultural displays as possible new tourist draws. He also mentioned wellness and adventure as additional pegs for tourism in Northern Luzon.

As for developing existing attractions, Secretary Lim expressed commitment to assist the local government in refurbishing Burnham Park, beginning with the sprucing up of the Rose Garden. National Parks Development Committee Director Juliet Villegas was also on hand during the festival to discuss the matter with local officials.

Burnham Park is an icon, and that is where we pledge to help Baguio,” noted the tourism chief.

The Department’s soon-to-be-launched “Pilipinas, Tara Na!” domestic tourism campaign is likewise a joint undertaking, this time with the private sector. Sec. Lim said a remake of the 2004 “Tara Na, Byahe Tayo” music video will be rolled out in time for the Holy Week rush.

The Secretary also took the opportunity to share the Department’s thrust in appealing to “high-value tourists,” especially in international tourism promotion.

“It is not the number of tourists we get that matters, but the amount of money they spend and the length of time they stay. What we want to do is spend our promotions money targeting the high-value visitors like the MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events] market,” he said.