by Hanna C. Lacsamana
Although it comes with a price, the hospitality industry welcomes the high momentum of tourist arrivals in Baguio that has been noted since the last quarter of last year for all the good it brings to the city’s tourism industry and economy.
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) reported last week the city is enjoying a steady stream of tourists for the past months, which picked up further with the shortened lean season expected every school year opening.
“June to September used to be a lean season (after Christmas, Panagbenga, Holy Week, and summer season), so we expect tourist arrivals to pick up again in October. But that has changed,” said HRAB president and Baguio Country Club General Manager Anthony de Leon.
He said they noted the continuous arrivals of tourists when schools started implementing adjustments on the schedules of class opening, which shortened the period between the lean season and the start of the lean season of tourists.
They have also observed last December a record high number of visitors. “There were just too many people who were up here in Baguio that time, because they look to Baguio mainly as a tradition for families. What is Christmas if not spending it in cold weather like Baguio’s,” de Leon said.
He said the assessment is based on the meetings of the HRAB member-hotels which reported that their occupancy rate had gone up by as much as 15 to 20 percent in 2016’s last quarter compared to the same period of the preceding year.
“It is good news to the stakeholders and the local government. The jump in the occupancy rate means a hike in revenues of hotel business, as well as taxes due the city,” de Leon said.
He added the reduced travel time from Manila to Baguio from the regular six to less than four hours is also a big factor in the increased volume of tourists in the city.
“The closer the TPLEX gets completed, the more visitors we can expect, so I am sure there will be some price to pay like traffic woes and some garbage issues,” de Leon said.
However, he said the worse traffic situation in Manila has given car owners the option to travel and maximize the use of their vehicles, which in that case is beneficial for Baguio.