City tourism industry stakeholders urged the public to immediately report to concerned authorities the operation of illegal accommodation establishments in the various city barangays to put a stop on such engagements that might compromise the city’s efforts to prevent the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the city.
The active participation of the public in the campaign to convince tourists to book their accommodations in registered and accredited tourism establishments came after the hotel sector of the Baguio Tourism Council (BTC) raised the issue on tourists making it appear that they will be living with their friends and relatives when visiting the city when in fact, they will be staying in unregistered and unaccredited accommodation establishments to save on cost.
Anthony de Leon, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) and general manager of the Baguio Country Club (BCC), reported numerous instances when tourists visiting the city before the health pandemic declared they will be staying with their friends and relatives when in fact, they had been staying in low-cost accommodation establishments that are even not issued permits to operate by the city.
However, Supervising City Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo claimed the list of accredited tourism establishments and those that had been issued certificate of compliance by the city government that are awaiting accreditation with the regional tourism department have been included in the city’s online registration platform for tourists, visita.baguio.gov.ph, where tourists could select the hotel to book their accommodation when visiting the city for safety and security reasons.
He pointed out that since the city launched the online registration platform and had called on tourists to book their accommodation in accredited accommodation establishments, there had been a significant increase in the number of transient houses that have sought registration and accreditation with the city government and concerned government agencies.
According to him, what needs to be done is to compel the unregistered and unaccredited lodging establishments to initially apply for the issuance of the certificate of compliance from the city before seeking the issuance of the required accreditation with the tourism department so that their lodging facilities will be included in the list and included in the online registration platform.
He stated what was ironic during the inspection of the lodging facilities seeking the issuance of the certificate of compliance from the city is that some of the said establishments are allegedly owned by barangay officials and that the said businesses have not yet been issued permits to operate.
Mapalo added that the city is currently campaigning for the booking of accommodation by prospective tourists registering online to select where to stay from the list of accredited accommodation establishments when spending their stay in the city as the city is now open for domestic visitors from the different parts of Luzon. By Dexter A. See