The local government unit here has expressed confidence that its tourism industry will flourish anew.
Mayor Felicito Dula, during an interview on the sidelines of the Indigenous Peoples Day celebration on Friday, said every weekend for about four weeks now, tourist arrivals are on the rise.
“We have recorded a total of 39,866 tourists who arrived from January 1 to September 30. There are also a small number of seminars and conferences already being held here,” the mayor said.
Pre-pandemic, Sagada averaged 140,000 tourists per year.
Sagada has lifted all entry requirements for tourists, including registration, Covid-19 test, and proof of full vaccination.
“We have decided to ease the restrictions because they prevent tourists from putting us on their list of areas to visit,” Dula said. “We had to move because tourism is the number one livelihood of the people in Sagada and making it difficult for tourists to enter our town will make it difficult also for our people to recover from the financial losses that resulted from the lockdowns.”
The mayor said locals own restaurants, inns, and souvenir shops while others are engaged in making processed items or serve as tour guides.
Based on a 2021 survey, Sagada has 12,300 residents who are directly engaged in tourism or related business activities. (PNA)