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PIA Press Release

Baguio Tourism Council calls for realistic and attainable city strategic planning

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (6 June) -- The City government, through the City Tourism Office, in partnership with the Baguio Tourism Council (BTC), Chamber of Real State Brokers Association Inc (CREBA-Baguio Benguet), Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) and the Department of Tourism (CAR & Region 1), held a Tourism Conference last Friday at the Baguio Country Club.

The conference aims to have an initial overall framework for the Amianan Tourism Network, to further boost Baguio, as an intelligent hub of the north and to have a stronger resolve towards a unified agenda that is to improve the products and services of region 1 and Cordillera and to have a common strategy to market the entire Northern Luzon tourism destination.

BTC chairman and Hotel and Restaurants Association of Baguio (HRAB) president Mr Anthony De Leon gave a perspective on Baguio Tourism, Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) chairman Ret. Gen. Edgar Aglipay gave a briefing about PRA, while City Tourism Officer Benny Alhambra presented a perspective on Beautiful Baguio.

DOT Region 1 Director Martin Valera and DOT-CAR Director Pura Molintas also gave perspective on the tourism industry in their respective regions.

The conference participants, composed of multi-sector stakeholders in the tourism industry, held a workshop in the afternoon, to identify the responsive action and actionable strategies on the tourism issues and concerns. A compilation of the conference papers, presentations and workshop output will be made and will be presented to the planned North Luzon Tourism Summit in August.

In his presentation, De Leon stated the alarming decline of Baguio visitors in the past five years. Based on the latest survey conducted by HRAB on 17 hotels in the city, the occupancy rate last Holy Week dropped to 79% compared to 90% occupancy five years ago.

The same survey shows that 54% of the respondents indicated that children have a big influence on the place they visit and 36 percent of them prefer to go to resorts during Holy Week. In line with this, De Leon expressed the need for Baguio to offer something new, besides its cool weather and the usual tourist destinations in the city.

"It is time for us to re-package the city, including the whole region around it, to make the city globally competitive. We have to make a specific, realistic and attainable strategic planning", De Leon pointed out. According to De Leon, Baguio should be repackaged together with the surrounding municipalities like La Trinidad and Tuba, as an adventure destination as well. In relation to this he calls on all participants.

"Let us pool our resources and ideas, let us do something to improve our image, we need to network with different regions and provinces in order to make Northern Luzon and Baguio City to be competitive," de Leon urged the participants.

For his part, Mr Benny Alhambra stressed that "Magandang Baguio", is a need, a want, and a work that we must voluntarily do, with good citizens, good environment and good governance.

Meanwhile, Aglipay called on the stakeholders of the tourism business industry to consider the retirees in their market, as they are the business of the future. According Aglipay, more retirees/pensioners abroad are coming back home in the country, especially, those who are living in countries affected by the global economic crisis and other worldwide developments like the high cost of fuel. (PIA) [top]

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