Tourism is P10.5B Cordi industry

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BAGUIO CITY– Tourism remains to be one of the major economic drivers of the Cordillera after it brought in over P10.5 billion income to stakeholders in 2019.

Aldrin Federici Bahit, chief of the statistical coordination division of the Cordillera office of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA-CAR), stated that based on the gathered data of the tourism satellite accounts in the region in the said year, domestic visitors spent over P8.7 billion while in-bound tourists, mostly foreigners, contributed P1.8 billion to the regional economy during the said year.

Based on their spending, in-bound visitors spend an average of P7, 392 per visitor per day while domestic visitors spend some P3, 827 per visitor per day. For daytime visitors, they are said to spend some P2, 800 during their stay in tourist destinations around the region.

He added that Baguio City accounted for the bulk of the over 2.1 million tourist arrivals in 2019 with 75.3 percent followed by Ifugao, Mountain Province, Benguet, Kalinga and Apayao.

The PSA-CAR official claimed that there are 6 expense categories where tourist spend their budget that range from accommodation and other related services, food and beverage, transportation services, travel agency and similar services, entertainment and souvenir items among others.

In terms of the expense categories, he disclosed that foreign and domestic visitors spend much for their transportation followed by accommodation and food and beverage.

In terms of food, in-bound visitors spend a maximum of P800 daily while domestic visitors spend P400 when visiting various tourist destinations in the different parts of the region.

However, Jovita Ganongan, officer-in-charge of the Cordillera office of the Department of Tourism (DOT-CAR), reported that last year, there was an 82 percent decline in tourist arrivals in the region because of the implementation of the various levels of community quarantine to combat the spread of the deadly virus, saying that the aforesaid decline heavily impacted on the state of the region’s tourism industry.

According to her, the effect of the ongoing pandemic to the region’s tourism industry has been enormous where thousands of workers in the tourism-related industries lost their jobs while a good number of establishments closed their operations.

The Cordillera has been a favorite tourism destination of nature-lovers because of the scenic  stops in the different parts of the region that entice foreign and domestic visitors to include in their itinerary of travel the said destinations for their leisure activities.

She expressed confidence there are bright prospects for the recovery of the tourism industry from the prevailing situation for people relying on the industry to regain their income and bring back the vibrance of the local tourism industry which serves as one of the region’s major economic drivers.

Ganongan emphasized that the agency respects the decision of concerned local governments not to open their places for tourism-related activities until such time that local officials are convinced that the COVID-19 situation has normalized. By HENT