Issue of September 2, 2018
     
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2018
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Tourism czar eyes better Baguio tourist experience
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Criticisms about the same old things and events that tourists see and experience in Baguio will be seriously considered in improving Baguio’s tourism, the city’s newly designated tourism officer said this week.

City Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo, who assumed office on Aug. 28, said he would like to see how tourist experience could be enhanced because this has been a source of criticisms.

He acknowledged the complaints often said of Baguio these days, such as its worsening traffic that slow down time to tour the city, and that tourists keep seeing and experiencing the same spots and events over and over.

He said looking at these criticisms and starting to review and find out how the city will address these concerns would be a part of his major functions.

He said if there is one thing that Baguio can learn from what have been seen in the Boracay closure is for the city to start reviewing and further looking at solutions for the improvement of the problematic conditions and situations in the city.

“I would like to see how this could be enhanced. There have been a lot of criticisms already and we should not take all of these criticisms lightly,” Mapalo said.

Mapalo said many aspects and factors have to be considered, some of which are not within his functions, such as enhancement of infrastructure and extensive planning that would improve or address existing problems that are keeping the city from giving Baguio tourists the best experience.

“In all of this, we should be emphasizing on the essence of the identity of Baguio, especially on arts and culture, with our Unesco designation recently. That will give us a leverage to promote what really the identity of Baguio is, and that can provide another enhanced experience,” he said.

Mapalo added there would be solutions, and his office will be working with city officials in finding them, since logically, he said Baguio cannot be closed to tourists as what have been done in Boracay, and as Tourism Sec. Bernadette Puyat implied about Baguio’s carrying capacity.

“We cannot close Baguio. It’s a city, not an island. We have residents, we are a chartered city, and we are independent. It would be impossible.”

With the kind of attraction that the city has become, he also doesn’t think that it is plausible to limit Baguio’s tourist arrivals.

Kapag ang tao gustung-gustong pumunta sa isang lugar, why would they be denied? I think the more probable approach is to manage the influx of tourists like planning monthly events so people won’t come all at once.”


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