LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Declaration of long weekends and added holidays, which the Marcos administration hopes to boost tourism growth, have been significant in the 23.53 percent increase in tourist arrivals in Pangasinan in 2023, a local official said.
Pangasinan Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office head Maria Luisa Amor-Elduayan, in a statement on Thursday, said tourist arrivals rose to 8.4 million in 2023 from year-ago’s 6.8 million due to “opportunity, cost-effectiveness, and availability of destinations.”
“It (declaration of long weekends) favors cost effectiveness of traveling – notwithstanding the viability of traveling expenses, and the increase in the number of facilities and enterprises in destination areas that provide added values, and activities in the destinations,” she said.
Among the top five destinations in the province are Manaoag with 5.2 million tourist arrivals, followed by Bolinao town, 644,572 arrivals; Alaminos City, 519,907; capital town of Lingayen, 378,051 arrivals; and Binalonan town, 377,159 visitors.
Elduayan said the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Manaoag remains the top drawer since it is a well-established pilgrimage site and because of the availability of multiple access roads such as the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
She said most of the visitors of the church are from the National Capital Region and Central Luzon, who are bound further to the western part of the province or further north to other Ilocos Region destinations and Baguio City.
Bolinao, in turn, is famous for its white sand beach, falls, clean Balingasay River, world-class resorts, and giant clam sanctuary; and Alaminos City for the Hundred Islands National Park.
Lingayen hosts many big events such as the Pista’y Dayat on May 1 and various tourism fairs and the provincial museum, while Binalonan has established itself as a family-oriented destinations that have myriad of small businesses like food and souvenir shops.
“The availability of spacious and secure parking areas all within the town center is a huge factor in promoting the town as a preferred nightly destination for those looking for places to relax and socialize without having to put so much time into traveling,” she added.
The other destinations in the province that recorded over 100,000 arrivals include Dasol, Burgos, San Fabian, Natividad, Sta. Maria, and Asingan towns, which are combinations of beach, festivals, agri-tourism attractions.
Elduayan said projects and activities in Tourism Product Development Program of the province this year include bike tourism, bird watching, Marian Pilgrimage, farm tourism, culinary tourism, new and emerging destinations programs while the activities in the Tourism Promotions Program are Tourism and Travel Fairs, Digital and Social Media Utilization, Tours and Benchmarking, and Special Events, Projects and Activities in Culture and Arts Program.
The province still targets to reach its pre-pandemic tourist arrivals of 10 million achieved in 2019. (PNA)