Traffic blamed for decline in tourist arrivals

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BAGUIO CITY  – Local tourism industry stakeholders blamed the worsening traffic congestions in the city as the primordial reason for the consistent decline in tourist arrivals right at the start of the year to date.

Anthony de Leon, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) and general manager of the Baguio Country Club (BCC), disclosed that the hotels in the city started to feel the significant decline in tourist arrivals during the Holy Week where their occupancy rate was at a low 60 percent compared to their occupancy rates in the previous years that reached a high 90 percent.

He claimed that the past years had been banner years for the city’s hotel industry because of the 80 to 90 percent occupancy rate but for this year, such occupancy rate had been very difficult to realize because of the presence of emerging tourist destinations in other places in the country aggravated by the worsening traffic around the city that prevents the visitors from having a stress-free travel to the different tourist spots.

The BCC general manager revealed the city’s hotel industry started to feel the slight decline in tourist arrivals during the last quarter of last year although the same improved at the start of the year but eventually drastically declined in the following months.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed the local tourism industry will rebound during the remaining months of the year. We also hope that concerned government agencies and the city government will formulate appropriate strategies to significantly improve the traffic situation in the city for us to win back our foreign and domestic tourists,” de Leon stressed.

Jeff Ng, general manager of Hotel Supreme, pointed out that Baguio City still enjoys a good market in terms of being host to meetings, conventions and events but something must really be done to effectively and efficiently address the traffic situation in the city so that visitors can visit the different tourist spots in a short span of time before going back to their points of origin.

The Hotel Supreme official admitted there had been a significant decline in tourist arrivals in the city over the past several months which have definitely affected their operations but they are still hoping there will be a significant change in the coming months so that the city will be able to regain the vibrance of its robust tourism industry.

Ramon Cabrera, general manager of the Camp John Hay Manor, admitted that with the prevailing trend in the local tourism industry, there is a big possibility their projections this year will fall short by at least 15 percent compared to their occupancy over the past several years.

He stated hotels have a difficulty in realizing their projections for the year because of the significant downtrend experienced by the city’s tourism industry with the supposed peak tourism months becoming regular days for them right at the start of the year. Although the hotel industry remains optimistic there will be a significant change once the city’s temperature will start to drop by the last quarter to entice more people to visit and spend their well-deserved break in the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.

By HENT

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