RECOVERING from the deluge of tourists, the local government of Sagada has set new rules for visitors.
Sagada Mayor James Pooten said the 4,000 arrivals during the long weekend caught everyone off guard, prompting stakeholders to craft guidelines for tourists this holiday season.
Pooten received a call from Tourism Undersecretary Arturo Boncato as videos of the gridlock in Sagada went viral.
Pooten said stakeholders in the government as well as the private sector are asked to minimize the impact of tourism in the town because closure of the town to tourists is not an option.
The chief executive said stricter rules must be implemented for all to adjust and conform to the process of making Sagada a responsible tourism destination.
The new rules mandate tours in and around Sagada must only be run by the local guides' organizations: SEGA, SAGGAS, SETGO, KIGA, ASSETG and BFTAMPGA.
Travel agencies, groups, and individuals must register for the tours at the Tourist Information Office. Pooten said there are 800 guides in the town and six tour guide associations.
The new rules also indicate a limited number of tourists allowed per site per day with all tours requiring a tour guide banning entry to those without a registered companion.
Pooten said the standard of one guide to 10 visitors will be enforced and will be the gauge to determine how many tourists are in one destination.
The advisory also listed guidelines on transport and traffic to avoid another gridlock.
Only local transport will be allowed to ferry tourists to tour sites so as not to create traffic in tourist destinations mandating.
Tourist vehicles are required to park their vehicles all throughout the duration of their stay in their hotel parking area or in pay parking areas and avail of the local transport when visiting the different sites.
Tourists will also be obliged to walk around town to visit shops, restaurants, and nearby tourist spots.
Pooten said local Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs) will be used for all tourists in the town to avoid traffic congestion.
The mayor said tourist vans will be asked to park at the inns and designated parking areas only.
On accommodations in the town, only LGU-registered and DOT-accredited hostels, inns or homestays under the Sagada Inns and Hotels Association (SIHA) will be allowed to operate.
Visitors are also advised to follow standard prices for accommodation in Sagada, without haggling and any request for free beds.
All visitors are advised to bring refillable water tumblers. Disposable water bottles are not allowed. Trash should be thrown only in designated disposal areas.
The local government also advises groups to bring their garbage upon leaving Sagada.