BAGUIO CITY – A food and banking magnate cited the resurgence of the Summer Capital’s robust tourism industry because of the near completion of the 88.4-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) that will reduce the travel time from Manila to the city to only two and a half hours which will entice foreign and local tourists to keep coming back.
Alfredo M. Yao, national president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said the significantly reduced travel time from Manila to Baguio City and vice versa after the completion of the TPLEX by the end of this year will negate the non-commercial operation of the Loakan airport considering that tourists will want to enjoy the short ride and having a view of the sceneries along the way.
“It will now be the return of the city’s robust tourism because of the significantly reduced travel time. WE were able to travel to Baguio in just three hours with the TPLEX exit temporarily opened in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan,” Yao stressed.
Yao was in town to swear in the new set of officers of the PCCI Baguio-Benguet Chapter led by its president, Dr. Rhodora A. Ngolob, dean of the University of the Cordilleras – College of Business Administration; Mr Modesto B. Immayaho – vice president; Rodolfo Pidal; Juan Johnny R. dela Cruz – treasurer; Dennis Sy – auditor and Dr. Reynaldo Bautista – public relations officer.
However, Yao urged concerned government agencies and the local government to have the political will to phase out all old and reconditioned vehicles which are the identified major causes of air pollution to help clean the city’s air quality for the benefit of the visitors.
The PCCI official also recommended the realization of the proposed monorail in the city’s central business district coupled with the inter-connection of a cable car system for mass transport to contribute in solving the city’s monstrous traffic congestion.
According to him, the cable technology nowadays is considered affordable, thus, the local government can afford to set up the same or look for private partners that would facilitate the installation of the mass transport system that would greatly help in addressing transportation concerns for the public.
He said the city has the natural attractions because of its cool weather, scenic spots and pine-scented air but what it needs is a modern mass transport system and parking structures that will provide motorists with easy access to their desired points of destination in the city.
The PCCI official asserted the growth of Baguio will surely expand to its neighbroring areas of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay that is why the infrastructure in the said communities must also be in place in order to provide visitors with added options to visit once they come to the city for the benefit of spurring economic development not only in the city proper but also within its environs considering that the areas are the recipients of the spillover of development in the city.
Yao explained there is still bright potentials for the local tourism industry in the future as the city has not yet maximized its tourism potentials without the full operation of the TPLEX up to its proposed exit in Saytan, Rosaio, La Union, thus, the need for the city to operate for the influx of more visitors in the future.