The municipal government of Sagada in Mountain Province continues to get rid of rules that make visits to the town difficult and expensive for tourists.
“We are amending and trying to regulate (the) rates of accommodation packages, including tour guide rates and ratios, so that they become less expensive and a burden even to ordinary backpackers,” Mayor Felicito Duka said.
Duka added that they have also allowed a tour guide-to-tourist ratio exceeding the 1:5 limit, except for those going to caves.
He said a low ratio of tourists going to caves is needed to ensure that they would be provided adequate illumination to avoid injuries and accidents while inside these areas.
“They do not adopt a ceiling in the number of persons per tour guide,” Duka said.
The tour guide-tourist ratio in going to other 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.
“Tourists are given the leeway to choose their preferred tour guides.”
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, coronavirus disease 2019 (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 that our people can rebound from the losses they incurred during the pandemic.”
“We welcome everyone and we do not want to give them a hard time in visiting our town so that our people can rebound from the losses they incurred during the pandemic. If we burden them, they will set us aside and it will be our people who suffer the loss,” Duka added.
He said a notable increase in tourist arrivals was observed after the lifting of strict entry rules.
However, Duka said the figures are still far from the tourist arrivals during the pre-pandemic years.
At present, the town only charges a P100 registration fee for tourists, which already covers the environmental fee.