The province of La Union recorded a total of 550,359 tourist arrivals in 2023, with over PHP1 billion estimated tourism receipts.
La Union Tourism Office officer-in-charge Julius Manabat, in a phone interview on Friday, said tourist arrivals in 2023 is 11 percent higher than the previous year’s 494,387 numbers.
“The increase could be attributed to the opening of most of the destinations after the pandemic, and marketing and promotions of the province was also effective,” he said in Filipino.
Based on the Executive Legislation Agenda Targets for 2024, the Tourism Office targets a 3-percent increase in tourist arrivals this year.
Manabat said they have developed tour packages that cater to the interests of various tourists.
“We have marketing for beach tourism and other varied offerings to be able to cater to all,” he added.
In 2023, the top three most visited tourist destinations in the province are San Juan town with 215,645 visitors; Bauang town, 100,762 visitors; and San Fernando City, with 97,726 visitors.
San Juan town offers surfing and an overall chill time vibe with its varied establishments, Manabat said.
Bauang town, on the other hand, offers agri-tourism with its grape-picking areas, while San Fernando City, being the capital of the province, offers bike-trail, the Ma-cho Temple, Poro Point Lighthouse and Pindangan Ruins, among others, he said.
The other budding tourist destinations in the province are in Agoo, Rosario and Bacnotan towns.
Tourist destinations in these areas include the Minor Basilica of our Lady of Charity and Museo de Iloko in Agoo; Nature Park in Rosario; and Immuki man-made island in Bacnotan.
Visitors from Metro Manila topped the source of tourists to the province, followed by Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos and other parts of the country, according to the tourism office’s survey.
Young adults comprised 77 percent of the tourists, and 59 percent of these are females.
The average repeat visitation frequency to the province is five times, and 57 percent of the tourists are repeat visitors who prefer to go to La Union during holidays and long weekends.
The highest number tourist arrivals were recorded in April, with 68,567 tourists.
The province is yet to reach, however, its pre-pandemic tourist arrivals at 660,096 in 2019. (PNA)