BAGUIO CITY – The City Council Committee on Tourism, Parks, Playgrounds and Special Events admitted that the local government is having difficulty in ascertaining accurate data on the actual number of tourist arrivals in the city year-round, which will serve as basis for policy and decision makers in crafting appropriate programs to boost the local tourism industry’s sustained growth.
Councilor Elmer Datuin, Chairman of the City Council Committee on Tourism, Parks, Playgrounds and Special Events, said that the data generated by the City Tourism Office (CTO) comes from the reports of accredited tourism facilities in different parts of the city, but there are figures that should be taken from non-accredited lodging facilities which are being frequented by tourists.
He explained concerned departments are trying to look into ways and means on how to cull the data on actual tourist arrivals in the city to guide local officials in deciding the implementation of various tourism programs and projects to boost the growth of the local tourism industry and sustain the city’s economic growth and development.
In the data of the CTO there were over 1.5 million foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in the city last year, but the data of the Department of Tourism’s Cordillera office (DOT-CAR) states there were around 1.25 million foreign and domestic tourist arrivals in the city during the same period.
Datuin underscored the urgent need for the local government and the concerned government agencies to reconcile their statistics so there will be no confusion on the actual data of tourist arrivals and to allow the smooth implementation of necessary programs and projects geared towards boosting sustained growth of the local tourism industry.
According to him, tourism is the lifeblood of the city’s economy and it is best for the local government to have accurate tourist arrival figures to allow tourism programs and projects to be put in place, and for the local government to prepare the appropriate master plan to sustain the growth of the tourism industry beneficial to all concerned sectors.
Datuin claimed that the city is now accessible to visitors from the lowlands because of the operation of the portion of the 88-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) that significantly reduced travel time to the city from the previous 6 hours to only 3 and a half hours, thus there has been a surge in tourist arrivals in the city especially during weekends.
The local legislator expressed confidence that the concerned agencies and offices of the local government will be able to find the appropriate solution in reconciling their data on tourist arrivals in the coming months, not only in the city but also in the region, so uniform data will be presented to whoever will need it to avoid confusion among those who will access the provided data from the said offices. /By Dexter A. See