TOURIST ASSISTANCE. The Baguio City tourism office reported on Monday (Sept. 12, 2022) they receive an average of five complaints per day from unsatisfied tourists who were assured of good service and accommodation on social media but find this to be untrue upon arrival. Engr. Aloysius Mapalo, city tourism officer, said the tourism office can assist visitors in looking for legitimate and accredited accommodation facilities that have passed the standards. (PNA file photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – The City Tourism Office here has warned the public about engaging with unknown persons advertising “perfect” accommodation facilities on social media and advised visitors to contact their office for free assistance.

Engr. Aloysius Mapalo, city tourism officer, on Monday said “we receive an average of five complaints per day mostly on the expectations from the accommodation.”

He said when tourists transact with a representative from the accommodation facility, they are assured that there is a parking space, an area for cooking, and other facilities to entice them.

However, the clients would sometimes find that these were not true upon their arrival.

The absence of parking is a major consideration by tourists as the city strictly implements the no obstruction ordinance, prohibiting the use of roads, even in the villages, for parking.

Hot water for bathing is also among the most sought-after services by tourists because of the cold weather here.

“We have the visita app(lication) where tourists can inquire, get information and we will assist them if only to assure that the city’s name will not be tarnished by enterprising people who make promises but are not able to provide them,” Mapalo said, adding that anyone can simply Google-search “Baguio Visita” to link up to the city government.

Overshooting pre-pandemic arrivals

Bogus providers of accommodation establishments have started to proliferate in the city considering the high demand. Baguio receives an average of 50,000 tourists a week, about 30,000 to 35,000 of them arriving on weekends.

Mapalo said the current numbers are higher than pre-pandemic, and even amid the rainy season.

While hotels are available, inns and transient houses have also reopened to recover from the losses brought about by the Covid-19 lockdown.

“If you recall, we were the first to open borders to tourists as early as September 2020 so we were prepared in terms of the observance of the safety protocols,” Mapalo said.

Responsible travel

Meanwhile, the official said the city is advocating for responsible travel among the tourists, urging them to manage and dispose of their garbage properly, and follow the ordinances.

“We all do not want to see garbage and we ask the tourists to properly dispose of their garbage. Baguio is also a smoke-free city and we expect tourists to abide. We also strictly implement the no obstruction and illegal parking ordinances aside from compliance to the traffic and road rules,” he said.

He warned that violation of city ordinances has a corresponding penalty. (PNA)