BAGUIO CITY – The City Tourism Office admitted the collection of data on the true picture of the city’s tourist arrivals remains a challenge to the local government due to the failure of numerous accommodating establishments to submit the needed data from their end.
Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius C. Mapalo said the city government continuously coordinates with local tourism industry stakeholders to solicit the latter’s full cooperation to the data gathering efforts for the city to be have close-to-actual number of tourist arrivals in the city during a certain period.
Last year, there were more than 1.8 million tourist arrivals in the city, 15 percent higher compared to the tourist arrivals recorded by the local government during the preceding year, and tourism arrivals in the city has been increasing since the data gathering started.
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He disclosed that based on latest data, some 85 accommodation establishments in the city religiously submit their data on tourists they accommodate as per their latest workshop conducted to orient them on how to accomplish the forms dedicated for the said purpose.
Earlier, the local legislative body passed an ordinance requiring all accommodation establishments in the city to submit data on tourist arrivals by using a standard form to allow the city government have close-to-accurate data on tourist arrivals annually.
Mapalo admitted a lot has yet to be done in terms of ascertaining the number of day visitors in the city as those recorded by the tourism establishments are tourists who spend at least a night in the city and have availed of the services of the accommodation establishments.
According to him, Baguio remains a preferred tourist destination by foreign and local visitors shown by the significant increase in tourist arrivals through the years who mostly come for the city’s unique weather, especially now that there is a projected prolonged dry spell as according to weather experts that will last until June this year.
Mapalo urged owners of accommodation establishments to cooperate in the city government’s data-gathering endeavour by accomplishing the forms to help in the formulation of programs, projects and activities geared towards improving the city’s tourism industry.
He explained that the local government does not want to go to the extent of imposing fines against the owners of accommodation establishments as prescribed under the ordinance but what the tourism office does is to convince them to cooperate and participate in the overall efforts of the city to improve the industry.
By Dexter A. See
Banner photo by Armando M. Bolislis