Baguio tourism plans presented for ‘new normal’

Published July 18, 2020, 4:13 PM

by Zaldy Comanda

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong hopes to open the city’s tourism-based industries soon as long as there would be no second wave of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, and also depending on the situation in areas where most of Baguio’s tourists come from.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Mayor Benjamin Magalong (JJ Landingin / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Magalong noted that 43.98 percent of Baguio tourists come from Region 3 – Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales; Region 4 – Calamba city in Laguna, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon; and Metro Manila as shown in a random survey done on September 2018 to April 2019.

This was disclosed by Magalong as City Tourism Officer Alec Mapalo presented the Baguio Visitors Management System (BVMS) during the management committee meeting held recently.

Mapalo said the BVMS was being adopted in preparation for the “new normal” where tour management will feature touchless transaction and services, registration of individuals and vehicles, which in turn assist in crowd and traffic management; exploration of means of viable financial support for environmental programs and tour/transport services; and assistance for research and planning through accurate tourist arrival enumeration.

The BVMS also looks at visitor registration and payment through multi-platform registration, including motor vehicle congestion fee, monitoring system and parking, especially in selected tourist sites.

For the multi-platform registration for visitors and overnight guests, the proof of payment shall be the saved or coupon-printed QR code.

Mapalo said if plans are finally approved and implemented, the environmental fee shall be free for children up to six years old, P150 for visitors, and P100 for senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and student.

Collected fees shall be used for regreening, environmental programs, systems maintenance and improvement. There are exemptions for residents, workers, students and official visitors, but not conference and meeting attendees.

And if plans push through, motor congestion fees shall be P200 for motorcycles, P500 for cars and vans, and P1,000 for provincial tour buses. Additional privileges include parking in Dominican Hill, Botanical garden, Burnham Park, Mines View and Wright Park/Mansion House.

He said modern electronic jeepney as means of transportation is also being envisioned with a regular tour fee of P100; P80 for senior citizens and students, and free for official city visitors. A hop-on, hop-off (Hoho) tourist bus with route from the Baguio Convention Center, Botanical garden, Wright Park, Mansion house, Mines View, Gibraltar, Gov.Pack road and back is included in the plans.

An inter-travel tourism route “bubble” for local tourists within North Luzon provinces is also proposed, with the said population reportedly comprising 43.34 percent tourists nationwide. Magalong has directed Mapalo to give a report on the BVMS plans on August 11.