July 26, 2010 in Featured
By LENILYN YANGO, IRISH LUNAG and GWENDOLYN LONGID
SAGADA, Mountain Province — Hotel and restaurant owners in this favorite vacation town in the Cordilleras felt a sharp dip of 80% in tourist related income this summer, according to Olahbinan Inn and restaurant proprietress, Hilda Piluden.
The global economic crunch ranks as the main reason for this drop in income. She says very few “puraw” (referring to non-Asians) came to Sagada this summer. Now more Asians, mostly Koreans visit the town. There are more Pinoy tourists too than foreigners. She laments that Pinoy tourists tend to be more demanding and are poor spenders.
The Pinoy tourists are “tipid”or cut down on expenses. Many bring their own food and drinks. Some even have their own gas stoves with them. Little money is also spent on beer and other gimmicks. In past years, tourists usually stay a week. Now three days is a long time, she said.
Rich hotel owners too are a factor. They can afford to provide expensive improvements and amenities that smaller inns are hard pressed to make. Some of these are private baths with hot showers and TV sets with cable or internet connection. Big hotels even lower their rates just to corner customers. Special rooms cost P500-600/person but rich hoteliers could drop them to P250/day.
Comparing to last summers’ income of P10,000.00 in 3 days, this 2010 she got only P2,000.00 in three days.
Competition too from Banaue as a tourist destination is another reason. Usually, tourists opt to hire jeepneys from Banaue for a day tour in Sagada and back to Banaue for lodging and a hot meal.
A large number of i-Sagadas rely on tourism for livelihood. This sharp decrease in summer income means many children have not enrolled in college this semester. Many have unpaid debts too.
Hilda Piluden hopes the newly elected LGU officials will take action to improve tourism in Sagada. She also hopes a hotel and restaurants association will be organized. This she thinks will at least draft policies for the members’ benefit.
Olahbinan is an hourly inn in the center of Sagada. Hilda Piluden, says the hotel is a shortcut for her children’s names. They are Oswald, Lanie, Hilda and Barry and “ina”. “Ina” is Hilda’s mom who helped them build Olahbinan.# nordis.net