Artemio Dumlao – Philstar.com
February 12, 2024 | 5:31pm
File photo of San Juan, La Union.
Philstar.com / Artemio Dumlao
BAGUIO CITY — La Union welcomed 550,359 tourists in 2023, marking an 11% increase from last year’s 494,387, a report released by the provincial government said.
“This love month, our hearts are warmed with the wonderful news that tourism in La Union continues to rise, after the slump from the pandemic,” Gov. Raphaelle Veronica “Rafy” Ortega-David said. She also pointed out that the data generated were based on overnight visitors gathered from various La Union tourist accommodation establishments, as reported by the local tourism office to the Department of Tourism.
“This does not include our numbers on day visitors, who come to our province for a quick getaway given our proximity to key cities in the country,” Ortega-David said.
The tourist influx in La Union also generated 16% rise in tourism revenue, with over P1 billion logged in 2023 from P897 million in 2022.
Of the tourist figures, there were 6,450 international tourists and 543, 909 domestic tourists.
The month of April posted the highest arrival rate, with 68,567 visitors.
Urbiztondo beach in San Juan remained as top tourist destination in 2023, with 257, 559 day visitors. This was followed by Namacpacan Church in Luna town with 172,758; and Macho Temple in the City of San Fernando with 165,436.
Other top destinations were Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel town; Bauang’s grape farms, mangrove forest and beaches; Baluarte Watch Tower, Bahay na Bato and Bato De Luna in Luna; Immuki Island in Balaoan; Agoo Eco Park; churches and pilgrimage sites; and other private-owned destinations such Halo-Halo De Iloko, Pugo Adventure and Kultura Splashwave.
In a separate report, the local tourism office likewise revealed that visitors in the province were highly-satisfied with their experience in La Union, with 57% of them repeat visitors.
“This data was generated through our La Union Wonders and Adventure, Visitor Experience Survey (LU WAVES), which is conducted to determine our tourists’ behavior and purchase preferences and habits.” the governor added.
The survey showed that 49% of the tourists came from Manila, 14% are from Central Luzon, 13% are from CALABARZON while the 10% is from the Cordillera Administrative Region.
“We thank our visitors for their love and support for the province of La Union. We are truly delighted and grateful for the continuous growth and development in our tourism sector. This will certainly bring more opportunities to our local businesses and strengthen our local economy as we gear towards positioning La Union to be the Heart of Agri-Tourism in Northern Luzon by 2025,” Ortega-David said.
The reports came at the heels of the celebration of La Union’s 174th Foundation Anniversary.
“This March 2, we shall stage once again various crowd-drawing activities, where both locals and tourists can enjoy,” the governor added