BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Tourism (DOT-CAR) confirmed that there were close to 2 million foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in the region last year that helped in sustaining the robust growth of the region’s tourism industry.
DOT-CAR officer-in-charge Jovie Ganongan said that 90 percent of the 1,969,707 tourist arrivals last year came from Baguio City which proves that the city remains to be the backbone of the region’s tourism industry.
She added that last year, the 376 registered accommodation establishments in the different parts of the region which have a total of 8,270 rooms was pegged at 40.9 percent on the average and 1.53 days average length of stay of tourists with 2.78 average guests per room.
Of the recorded tourist arrivals in the region last year, Baguio registered 1,521,748 tourist arrivals representing 77 percent of the regional tourist arrivals followed by Mountain Province with 167,665 tourist arrivals or 8 percent; Kalinga with 119,777 tourist arrivals; Benguet with 86,188 tourist arrivals or 4 percent; Ifugao with 71,345 tourist arrivals or 3.6 percent, Apayo accounted for 2.8 percent and Abra which had a minimal share of 0.8 percent.
The DOT-CAR official noted the major tourist attraction in the region remains to be nature and culture, farm tourism among other ecotourism offerings that keep people coming back to enjoy the cool climate and good scenery around the region because of its well preserved environment.
On the other hand, Ganongan revealed that the top five foreign visitors in the region last year were Americans – 12,993; French – 8,561; Koreans – 8,216; Chinese – 4,469 and Germans – 4,232.According to her, the tourism department remains aggressive in the implementation of appropriate interventions that will greatly contribute in sustaining the growth of the industry which is being perceived as one of the region’s major economic driver primarily due to the existence of the beauty of the environment in the different provinces.
Based on data obtained from the Philippine Statistics Authority 9PSA), tourism contributed P1,929.3 billion or 12.2 percent to the country’s gross domestic product last year. Domestic tourism expenditures reached P2.6 trillion or 22.8 percent of household consumption expenditure.
Further, 5.3 million people are reportedly employed in tourism industries. 2v in 15 employed individuals were kin tourism industries.
Ganongan asserted tourism will still play a major role in spurring the region’s economic growth following significant improvements that were done in the region’s main roads providing easier access to desired tourist destinations in the different parts of the Cordillera.
She claimed tourist destinations outside Baguio City must be promoted to entice more foreign and local tourists to frequent the said destinations to help in providing added economic activities and sources of livelihood for the people, especially those living in the countryside, which will be the target of future promotional activities that will provide opportunities for growth and development regionwide.
By Dexter A. See