Saturday, May 25, 2024

Baguio: 20,000 daily cap as tolerable tourist arrival threshold

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Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city is looking at 20,000 daily tourist cap as allowable threshold for tourist arrivals even as assessments continue to determine the tolerable limit for visitors vis-à-vis parameters on traffic and crowd movement manageability and air quality.

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Last Feb. 25, the city posted the highest single day tourist arrivals since the pandemic started at around 15,000.

The weekend tourist crowd was estimated at 20,000 and vehicle and human traffic was observed to be fine prompting observers to consider the number as the possible daily limit.

The city has been placed under alert level 1 beginning March 1 entailing more relaxed quarantine rules including entry protocols for tourists.

But as much as the city wants to go all out in reopening its tourism industry to help businesses and its economy recover from the pandemic-driven slump, it also has to consider the need to avoid the effects of over tourism and ensure the comfort and safety of both the residents and visitors by maintaining some health protocols due to the continuing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat, the mayor said.

Thus there is a need to determine the threshold and still maintain some entry requirements like registration with the visita.baguio.gov.ph to monitor arrivals and ensure that the limit is observed, vaccination and negative test results for those who are not immunized.

City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo said the city wants to “move towards the new normal sustainable tourism” where the needs of the residents, visitors and the economic sectors are balanced and met.

“We can’t afford to really overcrowd especially with COVID-19 still around but at the same time allow as many tourists we can tolerate to also help our businessmen recover,” he said.

Mapalo said the city’s maximum accommodation capacity is 25,000 to 30,000 but the city can set its threshold at 20,000.

Since being downgraded to alert level 2 status last Feb. 16, the city did not impose a quota on tourist arrivals to determine up to what extent the city can take in tourists without sacrificing the safety and comfort of both the residents and the visitors themselves.

It picked up last February with the city registering 46,676 only from Feb. 1-20.

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