The local government warned erring accommodation establishments that it will be compelled to impose stringent penalties against the owners once they are found to be entertaining walk in clients that do not possess the required documents before entering the city.
Supervising City Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo disclosed that some accommodation establishments which were reported to have been violating the implementation of restrictions following the reduction of the number of tourists that will be allowed entry to the city daily.
At present, the city accredited some 113 accommodation establishments to independently triage their respective customers who will be booking their stay in the city to prevent the overcrowding of the central triage unit located within the compound of the Baguio Convention Center.
He claimed that the accredited accommodation establishments are only allowed to accept a maximum of 70 percent of their authorized capacity and that upon reaching the limit, the city’s online registration platform, visita-baguio-gov.ph. will automatically stop accepting bookings that are beyond their authorized capacities.
The city tourism officer stipulated that the accredited accommodation establishments have an authorized capacity of 8,000 that is why the maximum that the said establishments could accommodate is around 5,600 based on the 70 percent allowed capacity under the prevailing guidelines for areas that have placed under Alert Level 2 such as Baguio City.
He urged people to report to the local government the erring accommodation establishments that are violating the community quarantine restrictions that are currently imposed to contain the rapid spread of the virus so that the concerned offices will be able to impose the appropriate penalties against the owners.
However, he explained that based on the data that is available in the city’s online registration platform, the accredited accommodation establishments have not been able to meet the prescribed limitations on their occupancy even when the tourist arrivals to the city peaked during the Yuletide season that is why the tourist arrivals in the city is still manageable.
From the previous month’s 5,000 tourist arrivals daily, the local government decided to reduce the same to only 4,000 daily from January 6-18, 2022 as part of the ongoing efforts to contain the rapid spread of the virus in the city aggravated by the emerging threat of the Omicron variant.
Aside from imposing stringent penalties against the erring accommodation establishments, the local government will be compelled to cancel their accreditations to independently triage their guests and accept bookings in their establishments.
With the implementation of the reduced number of daily tourist arrivals, Mapalo emphasized that there will surely be a decline in tourist arrivals in the next several weeks because even those with pre-approved reservations are now cancelling their bookings because of the sudden rise in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in various parts of the country that makes their travel to the city no longer enjoyable due to the implementation of additional restrictions of negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or antigen tests prior to travel.