BAGUIO CITY – The tourism department designated Baguio City as a vacation spot which must be preserved and protected by the people for the same to be passed on to the coming generations.
Tourism Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado III said the agency included Baguio City and the Cordillera as one of the preferred tourist destination for culture and nature lovers, especially for foreign and domestic visitors wanting to witness well-preserved cultures which had not been influenced by the country’s colonizers.
He pointed out aside from Baguio City and the Cordillera, the agency also recommends the Mindanao area as part of the itinerary of foreign and domestic visitors wanting to witness the culture of Filipinos that is why tourist arrivals in the said areas continue to significantly increase.
He disclosed that apart from the country’s scenic beaches, foreign and domestic tourists also want to explore the rich culture of Filipinos, as well as well preserved and protected nature and the cool climate.
For the past five years, tourist arrivals in the city and the region had been increasing which has contributed in spurring economic growth in remote areas through the generation of additional jobs for qualified residents and the mushrooming of businesses.
In the Cordillera, the tourist arrivals in 2014 was recorded at 1.1 million before increasing to 1.4 million in 2015, 1.7 million in 2016, 1.9 million in 2017 and 2.1 million last year.
However, Assistant Secretary Alabado claimed Baguio City accounted for over 80 percent of the tourist arrivals in the region through the years, thus, the need for the agency to entice more foreign and domestic visitors to visit other scenic places outside the city to improve the potentials of the tourism industry in other areas of the region.
According to him, Europeans, particularly French, remain to be the top foreign tourists who frequent the region through the years followed by Israelites, Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and Americans.
He explained Europeans are known nature lovers who prefer scenic tourist destinations, like the well-preserved sceneries in the different parts of the region, thus, the need for other localities to aggressively promote their existing tourist spots worthy of being visited to help in spurring economic activities in the countryside considering the bright prospects for the country’s tourism in the coming years.
Last year, the tourism department registered some 7.1 foreign tourist arrivals which was much higher compared to the foreign tourist arrivals the previous years.
Alabado revealed that the tourist arrivals contributed some P245 billion in the country’s economy which played a significant role in generating employment opportunities in the countryside.
For the first six months of this year, the tourism official stated that the foreign tourist arrivals reached over 4.1 million which means that the projected 8.2 million foreign tourist arrivals this year is likely to be achieved considering the enormous foreign tourist arrivals recorded in the different tourist destinations.
By Dexter A. See
Illustration by Don Ray Ramos