The province of Pangasinan has recorded over 4.2 million tourist arrivals from January to June this year, according to the Pangasinan Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO).
Of the total number of tourist arrivals in the first half of the year, 4.2 million were domestic arrivals while there were 19,221 were foreign arrivals, based on PTCAO data.
“We believe these numbers are the direct cause of revenge tourism which naturally came about due to lifting of travel restrictions originally put in place amidst the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic,” said Pangasinan Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Officer Maria Luisa Amor-Elduayan, in an interview on Friday.
She noted that the total tourist arrivals for the entire 2022 reached 6.8 million.
Elduayan said the top five towns or cities with the most number of tourist arrivals are Manaoag town with 2.7 million tourists; Alaminos City with 285,096; Bolinao town with 271,005; and Lingayen and Burgos towns with 200,562 and 105,731 arrivals, respectively.
“Tourists or pilgrims to be exact visit the town of Manaoag to pray for blessings or even miracles from the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, which it is famously known for,” she said.
Devotees believe praying at the minor basilica will grant them miracles. New car owners even bring their vehicles to the place for the priest’s blessing.
The province has also become even more accessible through the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.
Elduayan said the western part of Pangasinan, specifically Alaminos City, Bolinao, and Burgos towns, are known for their islands, white sand beaches, and waterfalls as well as a variety of water activities like island hopping, diving, and kayaking, among others.
“The town of Lingayen is likewise one of the most visited towns in Pangasinan not only because its the province’s capital but because it is the center point to many neighboring towns and cities and it is the setting for the famous province-wide festival known as Pistay Dayat (festival of the sea), which is held along the Lingayen Gulf Beach in the summer and usually coincides with the Holy Week,” she said.
PTCAO, Department of Tourism-Ilocos Regio and other local tourism stakeholders have also been developing various tourism activities like farm tourism and bike tourism, Elduayan said.
The provincial government of Pangasinan has also launched the Kampo Kalangweran, a volunteer program for the youth and the community in order to protect, develop and promote natural and cultural heritage.
Also part of the tourism boost is the planned construction of the Pangasinan Link Expressway (PLEX) that will shorten travel time, especially during peak season.
Phase one of the PLEX project will cover 42.76 kilometers (km) from Binalonan to Lingayen town. (PNA)