LT caught off guard by influx of holiday tourists, visitors
The local government of La Trinidad is planning to work with the Benguet State University in coming up with a traffic plan at the strawberry fields area, which is under the management of BSU.
“We were caught off guard by the number of tourists who came recently. Previously, we were able to tolerate the traffic, but now it is worse than previous holidays,” Salda said.
He cited the Department of Public Works and Highways’ estimate of 60,000 cars that came up to Baguio during the holidays, a percertage of which also toured the town.
“Most of the tourists would always visit here when coming up to Baguio because it is accessible,” he said.
Records of the Municipal Tourism Office showed around 240,000 tourists visited the strawberry farms last December.
Salda said they are coordinating with BSU about the plan create a different exit route for vehicles using its parking lot adjacent the strawberry farm. As of the moment, he said there is only one entrance and exit for the parking area.
“We are studying what needs to be done with the parking area and the traffic scheme for the strawberry farm,” he said.
Aside from tourists, the flow of vegetable trucks going to the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center, and other private trading areas should also be considered.
Salda said the LGU, in partnership with the barangays and the police, needs to gather more volunteers to help in managing traffic during holidays.
Municipal Tourism Office records show that La Trinidad received 322,000 tourists during the fourth quarter of 2019, with 240,000 arriving during the December holidays.
La Trinidad boasts of several tourist destinations. Topping the list of spots visited are the strawberry farms with 282,200; Stobosa with 32,125; Trading Post with 6,350; Mt. Yangbew with 1,788; BSU with 1,552; Mt. Costa with 520; Bahong/Alapang Rose Garden view deck with 440; and Lily of the Valley organic agri-tourism garden with 422 visitors.
The third quarter record shows that there were visitors who also visited Mt. Kalugong 2,112; Bell Church 1,506; and Benguet Museum with 212.
The fourth quarter of tourist arrivals in 2018 was estimated at 185,419. –Ofelia C. Empian