Aurora 2012 tourist arrivals post 74% increase over 2011
BALER, Aurora, January 25, 2013–The tourism industry in this province, already on a steady growth path since eight years ago, posted another banner year in 2012 with a 74 percent growth in tourist arrivals over that of 2011.
Michael Palispis, provincial tourism officer, said the number of tourists in the province reached 215,098 in 2012, up from last year’s 123,043, representing a 74% increase.
Of the 215,098, some 119,308 stayed in the houses of relatives and homestay lodging facilities while 95,790 stayed in accredited hotels, inns and resorts.
Palispis said the tourism industry has come a long way since 2005 when only 8,744 tourists were recorded, representing a whopping 2,351 percent increase over the eight-year period.
He said the provincial government, under Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, is prioritizing this year the improvement of access roads in known tourist spots, particularly in northern Aurora to further increase tourist arrivals.
Ana Riza Mendoza, provincial tourism operations officer, said the tourism boom could be attributed to the vastly improved road conditions leading to the province. “Back in 2005, it was very hard to get here traveling from other places. But now, Aurora is very much accessible to tourists,” she stressed.
Mendoza said that for 2012, the bulk of tourists came in April, considered the peak season, with 51,680.
“In April and May, tourists from other areas arrived in busloads. These summer months used to be the peak season for the influx of tourists. But now, it seems there is no more peak season. They now arrive during weekends and during long holidays,” she said.
Based on comparative statistics of monthly tourist arrivals for 2012 and 2011, Mendoza said a 15% increase was registered in January 2012 as compared with the same period last year, 13% in February, 7% in March, 26% in April, 49% in May, 24% in June, 228% in July, 247% in August, 632% in September, 192% in October; 1,372% in November and 145% in December.
This capital town accounts for around 75% of tourist arrivals for 2012, most of whom flocked to the famous Sabang beach, a surfing paradise.
Charlotte Madarang, PTO supervising tourism operations officer, said the tourism boom has been on a steady growth since 2005 with 11,534 tourists in 2006; 10,782 in 2007; 27,935 in 2008; 54,886 in 2009 and 68,395 in 2010.
Angara-Castillo said the tourism gains are considered phenomenal since the province still is in the process of establishing the requisite hotel and infrastructure facilities which are natural come-ons.
She said Aurora self-promotes itself as a tourism haven with its pristine, white sand beaches, waterfalls, virgin forests and the presence of historical and cultural sites.
The provincial government is aggressively promoting tourism with its AuroraForest Recreation and Rest Area, Park Development (AFRRAPD), a provincial tourism blueprint which it submitted to the Department of Tourism for inclusion in the National Tourism Master Plan.
Included in the AFRRAPD are the construction of a hotel, conference hall and recreational facilities for water sports activities such as wakeboarding, jet skiing, kayaking, rappelling, and mountain trail.
A 78-room, three-story world-class hotel is nearing completion in Barangay Sabang which is expected to help ease the backlog in hotel rooms in the province.
Angara-Castillo said the tourism blueprint is one of the priorities in her development agenda codenamed health which stands for health, education, agriculture, livelihood, trade and tourism and human resource development.
She said that the provincial government has also launched its own “Balik-Aurora” campaign where balikbayan tourists are fetched at the airport and brought to various destinations in the province in line with the declaration of the years 2011 to 2016 as the country’s “Homecoming Years for Pinoys.” (Manny Galvez)
Photos Courtesy: Aurora Provincial Tourism