Baguio records high tourists’ arrivals in December 2022

BAGUIO CITY -- The City Tourism Operations Office reported a remarkable increase in tourists’ arrivals last December in the city.

City Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo noted that tourists estimated to be between 400,000 and 500,000 visited the famous mountain hideaway last month, with a notable surge recorded during the Yuletide season.

The surge, according to Mapalo, was owing to ‘travel revenge’ or the eagerness of the people to travel after more than two years of community restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The estimated number of tourists’ arrivals in December was much higher than the 100,000 to 150,000 visitors recorded during the previous months.

Baguio is a premier tourist destination that people want to visit.

Mapalo admitted that the number was just estimated as the real size of tourist arrivals could be lesser or even higher because of the proliferation of illegal accommodation establishments and the failure of other similar businesses to declare their actual number of occupants which the city is now trying to address.

The tourist arrivals in the city started to increase gradually in March last year after the wave of the Covid-19 Omicron variant started to wane which in turn resulted in a partial easing up of the community quarantine restrictions to allow the movement of people.

In 2019, the city recorded more than 1.5 million tourist arrivals during the year based on the declared occupancies of permitted hotels, inns and transient houses, although the figure was not accurate because of the absence of a mechanism to monitor the tourists, many of them may have been accommodated illegally in establishments in barangays.

The city is working out the implementation of a policy among permitted accommodation establishments to require tourists to register with the Visitors Information and Travel Assistance (VISITA) tourist application for the city government to establish reliable data of tourist arrivals in the city during a certain period.