Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the increase in tourist arrivals in the city during the last weekend of March improved the city’s business climate.
“We had a sudden rush of visitors starting last Friday (March 25). Talagang marami ang dumating so we had a good business climate last weekend especially that the Session Road in Bloom was still running,” the mayor said.
City Tourism Operations Officer Alec Mapalo said visita tally showed registrations at 18,666, 24,222 and 12,807 for March 25, 26 and 27 respectively or a total of 55,695 for that weekend. Actual arrivals were more or less the same.
Ordinary day tourist arrival is normally at less than 10,000.
Tourist registration and arrivals started to rise in the first week of March (March 7-13) upon launching of the Panagbenga when travel requests went up to 83,034 and to 96,503 in week March 14-20 while actual arrivals were 34,418 and 45,521 respectively. The week before this period, the city had 66,746 travel requests and 28,453 arrivals.
“Are we really going to a better normal or going back to the old overtourism? This is what the city is now analyzing as we pursue the move towards the new normal sustainable tourism where the needs of the residents, visitors and the economic sectors are balanced and met,” Mapalo said.
The mayor said the sudden rush of visitors caused traffic problems compounded by city road repairs and measures were immediately undertaken like the removal of road reblocking to ease the traffic flow.
Mapalo said data showed that 79 percent of the tourists used private vehicles or an estimated 8,800 more cars than the usual.
Some welcomed the revitalization of the business industry through the staging of the Panagbenga festival.
“We are happy for our MSMEs (micro-small-medium enterprises) who had brisk business for the duration of the Panagbenga. The traffic we encountered may just be a minor inconvenience for any activity. Glad our city government finds ways to help our businessmen who have suffered the past two years,” one observer commented.
Photo by Neil Clark Ongchangco