THE Baguio City Tourism Office (CTO) is eyeing an ambitious new plan for the coming years with regards to the direction of the city’s tourism projects.
According to the CTO’s review of its proposed development plan, many key strategic programs and new legislation are being eyed as the solution to Baguio’s tourism-related woes while keeping the sector’s growth strong.
Two among the key programs under review from the CTO are the development and improvement of “tourism products,” which ties into the other program of developing a community-based “tourism product” and a heritage zone for Baguio which would showcase the best of the local cultural communities within the city, while simultaneously drawing attention away from current hotspots for congestion and populace.
Tourism products are at their core the mix of natural, cultural, and other man-made resources within a locale that tie together into an individual “packaged” experience that can draw tourists to visit.
A particular set of ecotourism products eyed by the CTO are the CHALOK Ecopark Communities, which consist of the areas of Country Club, Happy Hallow, Atok Trail, Lucnab, Outlook Drive, and Kias villages, with the general concept of “nature plus culture immersion,” with plans to redirect tourism interest into these areas to promote livelihood and employment options outside of the central business district, sustainable employment in ancestral domains, and push for environmental protection and cultural preservation.
As part of this promotion, the CTO eyes put-up of non-intrusive tourism facilities such as view decks, gardens, boardwalks, camping and bike trails, and places for local crafts and produce in these villages.
The plans of the CTO also include a “heritage zone” in the central business district, which would include Burnham Park and other conserved heritage buildings such as the Post Office and Maharlika Complex, and other art deco and American-era structures. This zone would then be revamped with walking and biking zones, disability-friendly mobility networks, open and green space, and would also be regulated and curated with regards to new development.
In addition to these plans, legislation is also pending review and approval to aid in the progression of the city’s tourism, including a pending proposal to upgrade the CTO to an entire department, require socio-cultural orientations for tourists and new student-residents, and the imposition of environmental and vehicle congestion fees.