The 20-year old Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) disclosed that bookings and occupancies last year to date remain unprecedented indicative of the robust growth of the local tourism industry right after the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years.
HRAB president and Baguio Country Club (BCC) general manager Anthony de Leon said that the bookings and occupancies of the only exclusive club in the city had exceeded pre-pandemic figures, a clear indication that the local tourism industry is on its way to establish new records in terms of accommodations in the city amidst the presence of transient houses offering cheaper accommodation rates.
He added that there are still bright prospects for investors wanting to put up new accommodation facilities in the city provided they know and understand their market whether to cater to those wanting to stay in hotels or those wanting to opt for cheaper accommodations.
De Leon claimed that hoteliers were surprised to learn that even during the height of the heavy rains and strong winds brought by Supertyphoon Egay and the enhanced southwest monsoon, most of the local accommodation establishments, particularly the hotels, were fully booked which is an indication that tourists prefer to spend their vacation in the city.
For his part, Camp John Hay Manor general manager Ramon Cabrera agreed with the observations of De Leon, saying that the previous and current hotel bookings and occupancies have significantly increased over a short span of time that illustrates the so-called travel revenge by foreign and domestic tourists wanting to visit their desired destinations in the different parts of the country, especially Baguio, the country’s undisputed Summer Capital.
The CJH Manor official claimed that the current problem that local hoteliers are experiencing is the fast transition of hotel industry workers because of the opening up of the cruise lines and airlines that offer better salaries compared to what they are currently getting from the local accommodation establishments.
According to him, the CJH Manor has devoted a department to train upcoming workers to ensure their readiness for the jobs that may be vacated by those opting to work overseas for better compensation so that the establishment’s workforce will not be depleted, aside from adding additional 10 percent workforce to the current manpower of each department to address the needs of clients patronizing the said hotel.
HRAB chairman and Hotel Supreme general manager Jefferson Ng stated that the local tourism industry was able to recover earlier than predicted because of the significant increase in tourist arrivals starting last year where there is no longer distinction on the peak and lean seasons as even during the rainy months, tourists still flock to the city to enjoy its cool weather and the sceneries.
Ng pointed out that the record breaking tourist arrivals have resulted to the increase in employment opportunities of hospitality industry workers who were the ones that were first to be displaced when the accommodation establishments closed operations at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He predicted that the robust growth of the local tourism industry will surely increase, especially with the onset of the ’ber’ months and the Yuletide season which are just around the corner.