BAGUIO CITY – City and regional tourism officials underscored hat Baguio city remains to be the jump off point of foreign and domestic tourists wanting to visit different tourist destinations in the different parts of the Cordillera.
Supervising Tourism Operations officer Engr. Alosius C. Mapalo said that despite the efforts of some residents and visitors to ruin the image of the city through deliberate negative postings in the social media, the number of people frequenting the city continues to drastically increase s evidenced by the influx of people from the lowlands to the city during weekends and holidays.
He pointed out that the heavy traffic being experienced by motorists during weekends is n indication that people from the lowlands still prefer to spend their weekend break in the city primarily because of the cool weather condition that remains a natural pull for people to spend some days in the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.
“If it is simply a weekend, people put to stay in Baguio and other neighboring tourist destinations in the neighboring towns of Benguet but when it is an extended weekend because of the presence of holidays, visitors use Baguio city as their jump off point to either Sagada or Banaue or vice versa with Baguio always in their itinerary,” Mapalo stressed.
DoT-CAR regional director Jovita Ganongan revealed that Baguio city accounted for nearly 8 percent of the region’s over 2 million arrivals last year which was 11 percent compared to the recorded tourist arrivals the previous year, thus, Baguio city is always in the calendar of activities of tourists.
She pointed out that what is important is for emerging tourist destinations in the different parts of the region to ride on the popularity that Baguio City was able to earn over the past several years that is why other potential tourist destinations must be aggressive in promoting their places for people to be enticed to visit.
According to her, tourists till prefer to come to Baguio before deciding to go to other tourist destinations in the region or they visit other tourist spots in the different provinces before ending up in the city and gong back to their points of origin.
Ganongan explained that the Cordillera has numerous potential tourist destinations and the only thing that should be done is to appropriate package the same so that it will suit the time and available budget of the people wanting to consider visiting the areas being promoted by concerned government agencies and the local government as scenic destinations worthy of visiting.
According to her, Sagada in mountain province and Banaue in Ifugao were given sufficient exposure in terms of promotions over the past several decades that is why the said areas remain as the preferred destinations by local and foreign visitors aside from Baguio city, thus, the need for neighboring municipalities to ride on the popularity of the said places for their destinations to be appreciated and recognized as added must-see places in the region.
The tourism is constantly providing technical assistance to the tourism officers of barangays, municipalities, cities and provinces in the different parts of the region to help in boosting the promotion of their places as tourism destinations attractive to foreign and local visitors.
Banner art by Don Ray Ramos