BAGUIO CITY: Local tourism stakeholders have blamed worsening traffic congestion in the city for the steady decline in tourist arrivals since the start of the year.
Anthony de Leon, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio and general manager of the Baguio Country Club, recently disclosed that hotels in the city began feeling the consistent drop in arrivals during the Holy Week this year when occupancy rate was 60 percent compared to the 90 percent in 2018.
He said the past years had been banner ones for the city’s hotel industry because of the 80- to 90- percent occupancy rate, but the 2019 rate has been reeling from gridlocks, depriving visitors of stress-free travel to Baguio’s tourist spots.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that 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 added.
Jeff Ng, general manager of Hotel Supreme, said Baguio still enjoys a good market for meetings, conventions and events, but added the chaotic traffic must be addressed efficiently to preserve that niche.
Ng admitted to the decreasing tourist arrivals in the city, but, like de Leon, he was optimistic that Baguio would be able to attract more visitors in the next few months.
Ramon Cabrera, general manager of Camp John Hay Manor, expressed fear that their occupancy rate until the end of the year would fall to 85 percent.
But he said hotels in the Summer Capital are upbeat that occupancy would go up as Christmas approaches.