Sagada relaxes entry rules to attract more tourists

EASED PROTOCOLS. Mayor Felicito Duka speaks during an interview on the sidelines of the opening of the Cordillera Regional Housing Summit 2022 in Baguio City on Tuesday (Oct. 18, 2022). He said they continue to revisit their entry protocols to attract more tourists. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot)

BAGUIO CITY – The municipal government of Sagada in Mountain Province continues to ease rules that make visits to the scenic town difficult and expensive for tourists.

“We are amending and trying to regulate (the) rates of goods and services, including accommodation package and tour guide rates so they will be less expensive and a burden even to ordinary backpackers,” Mayor Felicito Duka said Tuesday on the sidelines of the opening of the Cordillera Regional Housing Summit 2022 here.

Duka said they have also allowed a tour guide-to-tourist ratio exceeding the 1:5 limit, except for those going to caves. A low ratio for tourists visiting caves is needed to ensure they would be provided adequate illumination to avoid injuries and accidents while inside these areas.

The tour guide-tourist ratio for those in going to other site destinations can be from 1:7 to 1:10 and can also apply to accommodations to avoid the burden of getting two separate rooms for excess visitors.

He also said tourists are given the leeway to choose their preferred tour guides. The town has likewise dropped registration requirements via quick response (QR) codes, Covid-19 vaccination cards, and negative test results for tourists to spare them from additional burden and costs.

“We welcome everyone and we do not want to give them a hard time in visiting our town so our people can rebound from the losses they incurred during the pandemic. If we burden them, it will be our people who suffer the loss,” he added.

Duka said a notable increase in tourist arrivals was observed after the lifting of strict entry rules. The figures, however, are still are still far below the tourist arrival counts during the pre-pandemic years.

Presently, Sagada charges P100 registration fee per tourists. The amount already covers the environment fee. (PNA)