A total of 532,142 tourists visited this town in 2019, up by 48.12 percent compared to 359,269 arrivals the previous year.
“Of the total number of tourists in 2019, 3,261 are foreign tourists while 528,881 are domestic tourists,” municipal tourism officer Mary de Guzman said in an interview Thursday.
The most visited place here is the white sand beach in Barangay Patar and the three falls, she said. These are Bolinao falls 1, 2 and 3.
The other tourist attractions in the town are the Silaqui Giant Clam Nursery; Dewey Sandbars; St. James Great Parish, one of the oldest Catholic churches in the country; Cape Bolinao Lighthouse; Balingasay River, among others.
But de Guzman said the municipal government did not have direct income from the tourist arrivals because they are yet to impose environmental and registration fees next month.
“Unlike in other tourism areas, tourists who visited our town’s tourist spots were not asked to pay fees to the municipal government, nonetheless, they contributed to the income of business establishments in our area, as well as to the employment of our residents,” she said.
De Guzman attributed the increased tourist arrivals to the local government’s active promotion, together with the media and continuous improvement of facilities and services offered to tourists.
The municipal government launched in November last year its tourism website (www.bolinaotourism.com) which provides sufficient information about the tourism destinations accompanied by photos, including how to get to these spots, resorts, and restaurants with contact numbers and price list and other services the town has to offer to tourists.
“The media (all types) are really helpful in promoting our tourism industry in the town. We are lobbying for the provision of solar lights along the way to Patar beach this year,” she said.
De Guzman added the continuous construction of roads and other infrastructure projects of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and other national government agencies are also of great importance for the accessibility of tourist spots in their town.
Several training sessions or tour guides, she said, are also held by their office in partnership with DOT.
Meanwhile, the municipal government is implementing local accreditation for tourism enterprises in their town, on top of DOT’s accreditation.
“The accreditation is for us to provide better services to ensure high quality of service. There will be a checklist of national standards for the establishments catering to tourists in our town, which they have to meet, such as environmental compliance requirements,” de Guzman said.
There are 141 tourism establishments here, of which 64 are accredited by DOT. (PNA)