LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, Feb. 26 (PIA) - - The luscious strawberries of La Trinidad, the flower farms in Atok and the towering Mount Pulag in Kabayan are the biggest tourist come-ons in the province last year.
Newly appointed Provincial Tourism Operations Officer Eleazar Carias explained in a meeting of the newly organized Benguet Provincial Tourism Culture and the Arts Council that the three towns registered increase in tourist arrivals.
The popular strawberry field of La Trinidad is still a "must see" among tourists who also get the opportunity to experience first-hand strawberry picking.
Tourism is also peaking in Atok municipality with its flower plantations drawing tourists for instagrammable photoshoots. Aside from the Northern Blossoms Flower Farm popular for its cabbage roses, there is also the Haight's Place where sakura trees have started to bloom.
Mount Pulag, the second highest peak in Luzon at 2,922 meters above sea level, remains a favorite destination for adventurers.
Records of the Provincial Tourism Office showed though a slight decline of same day visitors in the province in 2019 with 1.663 million compared to the 1.689M in 2018.
Same day visitors are those tourists who visit local vistas only within the day, Carias said. Visitors often stay in hotels in Baguio City as there are only a number of accommodations scattered in the province.
The effects of typhoon Ompong in 2018 partly affected the decline of visitors in Itogon which tourist destinations include Mt. Ulap and Mt Ugo which are popular for mountain climbing and trekking. So with Tublay known for its eco-tourism sites.
The closure of Kennon Road also affected tourist arrivals in Tuba, though the town still contributed the second highest number of visitors in the province next only to La Trinidad in 2019. Tuba boasts of its hot spring resorts.
The tourism office also noted rise in the average occupancy rate due to the increase in number establishments and home stays in 2019.
Tuba registered the highest in terms of tourist accommodation at 30 percent, a bit higher than the capital town (29.8%). Kabayan recorded 19.7% followed by Buguias at 9.7%.
The top 10 noted foreign visitors were from Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore, France, USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and China.
Tourist destinations in the province are increasing through the years with tourism industry one of the drivers of local economy. (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)