February 9, 2023

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the city is in the process of determining its threshold on tourist arrivals to avoid complications arising from allowing too many leisure travelers.
After having its Covid-19 alert status lowered to level 2 last Feb. 16, the mayor did not set a limit for its daily to determine up to what extent the city can take in tourists without sacrificing the convenience of both the residents and the visitors themselves.
“To determine the threshold for tourists, we are now monitoring and looking at how far we can go in terms of the number of tourists to be allowed vis-a-vis the traffic situation, crowd movement and capacity, and our ability to still implement physical distancing and other protocols especially at the various convergence points like Session Road, night market and the city market,” the mayor said.
“Setting the threshold could help us ensure that tourism would not create any discomfort to the residents and even to the tourists,” he added.
This could be the springboard for more concrete actions to achieve sustainable tourism where other negative effects of overtourism like destruction of the environment, culture, and quality of life of the people are also addressed.
City Tourism Officer Aloysius Mapalo said after the city lowered the tourist limit to 4,000 due to its alert level 3 status last January, the city’s actual tourist arrivals dropped sharply last January with only 39,507 as compared to December 2021’s record of 147,145.
“We are just starting to see an increase this February with 46,676 arrivals from Feb. 1 to 20,” he said.
To rev up tourism anew, the city eased up some restrictions like maximizing the allowed capacity for hotels and other accommodation establishments subject to strict triaging and observation of the established health protocols.
The mayor said the city also stepped up the visita.baguio.gov.ph registration system by requiring APORs and other essential travelers who are staying in hotels and accommodation establishments to register with the leisure travel site instead of the usual hdf.baguio.gov.ph site.
This would strengthen monitoring and recording of travelers availing of the city’s tourism facilities and the real-time data would help in ascertaining the tourist threshold, he said. – Aileen P. Refuerzo