December 3, 2023

Members of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) have shared most of them are recovering from the losses they suffered in the past three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

HRAB President and Baguio Country Club General Manager Anthony de Leon said of the three-year loss during the pandemic, they were able to do very well in terms of recovery on the first year after the lockdowns imposed by the government as a measure against the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

He attributes this to the so-called “revenge travel” of the local tourists which he said has been contributing to revenue generation, continued local employment, infrastructure development, and capital expenditure of the hotel establishments.

“This means increased payment of taxes, contributing to the revenue generation of the city as well and more importantly to the image enhancement of the city in order to attract more tourists and sustain it for the long run,” de Leon said.

He added they have learned their lessons in terms of preservation and protection of the environment by operating in consonance with the objectives of the community and the local government, which is to protect and preserve the environment.

The Manor at the Camp John Hay and Forest Lodge General Manager Ramon Cabrera said 2020 and 2021 were a challenge for the hotel industry like for the other industries that suffered during the pandemic.

He said they also capitalized on revenge travel that contributed to their hotels’ recovery and in achieving their target revenue in 2022, which has been the highest so far in the hotels’ 23 years of existence.

Cabrera said they also took advantage of the pandemic to reposition their hotels to be more effective in service by undergoing upgrade.

“All of us capitalized on those challenges we faced during the pandemic to recover what we have lost during the last three years,” he said.

For Hotel Supreme’s Jeff Ng, the industry has showcased its ability to be resilient through the years.

“Amidst the challenges that we have faced at the height of the pandemic, those big blows have somehow put us on our knees but at the same time allowed us to show the industry collectively gets to stand and rise from these challenges,” Ng said.

He confirmed many of industry players in the city have achieved a certain degree of recovery from their operations which may vary from different properties, and this signifies they have stood up to restart bannering the tourism industry for the city.

“Baguio will always be a tourist attraction and will remain through the next years or decades and somehow we get to attract many local and international tourists for the purposes of enjoying what we have to offer here, and with that a big part of the industry’s ability to be resilient is through the leadership of our industry stakeholders,” he said.

He attributed this achievement to the tourism industry leaders who have done their best in finding ways on how they could rise from the situation and be able to stand in the present after recovering from what the pandemic has caused to their businesses. – Hanna C. Lacsamana