By Zaldy Commanda
BAGUIO CITY – The city government officials reported 1.7-million tourist arrivals in 2017, which is 300,000 much higher than the 1.4-million tourist arrivals in 2016, following the implementation of an approved ordinance mandating all tourism-related establishments in the city to submit to the City Tourism Office their periodic report on tourists patronizing their establishments.
Councilor Elmer Datuin, tourism committee chairman, said this was based on the data obtained from the 120 hotels, inns and transient houses that started complying with the ordinance.
“Baguio City has become a favorite weekend destination of people from the lowlands due to the reduced travel time considering the operation of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway. We are aggressively working with the private sector for us to be able to come out with a close to accurate data on the number of tourist arrivals in the city year-round,” Datuin stressed.
During the launch of the City Hall Hour, a monthly press briefing with city hall officials organized by the City Public Information Office, Datuin bared that there are some 175 hotels that are registered with the city but only 120 of them are religiously submitting the required standard data on tourist arrivals to the City Tourism Office, thus, the need for the concerned offices to make the necessary representations with the owners for them to comply with an existing ordinance.
He said the data on tourist arrivals in the city that will be generated from all the tourism-related establishments play a key role for the city policymakers and decision makers, especially in providing adequate resources that will cater to the basic needs of the people while they are in the country’s undisputed summer capital.
“The inclusion of Panagbenga or the Baguio flower festival in the registry of the International Festivals and Events Association and Baguio City as the only city in the country to be part of the Creative Cities Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has given added mileage to the city in the global market, thus the significant increase in the number of visitors frequenting the city over the past several months,” Datuin added.
With the ongoing renewal and processing of new business permits in the city, one of the strategies to be undertaken by the local government is to make tourism-related establishments submit the standard data on tourist arrivals. This is one of the necessary documents that should be complied by the owners before their permits are released or renewed to allow the local government to have a close to accurate data of tourist arrivals in the city.