Friday, August 19, 2011

Tourists flock to Hundred Islands even during rainy days

Tourists flock to Hundred Islands even during rainy days

-- Tourists continue to flock to the Hundred Islands in droves notwithstanding the rainy season.

This was disclosed by Alaminos City Administrator Wilmer Panabang who estimated the daily arrival in the province's number tourist spot to 200 and more than 1,000 during weekends.

In fact, he said, the number of tourist arrivals in the Hundred Islands improved this year as compared to last year and in 2008 and 2009 which were marked by down trend in tourism due to the effects on the industry wrought by Tyhoons "Ondoy" and "Pepeng".

Thus, even during the rainy season, tourists--mostly domestic, are arriving in droves, he added.

The number of foreign tourists arriving has not increased though but there was no downtrend in their number too. Most of the foreign tourists are Koreans and Japanese and a few Americans and Europeans.

Panabang said that more tourists will come to the Hundred Islands if they can cut their travel time in going to Alaminos from Manila which is five hours to only 40 minutes by means of air travel.

This can only be realized, he said, if the Pangasinan Airport, which is now undergoing construction, will soon be completed.

The project, initiated by Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, has the backing of President Benigno S. Aquino III and Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas.

To date, land acquisition and earth movement are now ongoing at the proposed Pangasinan Airport using initial P200 million released by DOTC.

Panabang said of the amount, P50 million formed the first trance and the second trance amounted to P150 million. All these were used to acquire 80 hectares of land that will form part of the airport's runway of 150 hectares.

"Hopefully, the third trance of another P60 million will be released in the next few weeks, good for another 60 hectares of land to be acquired," Panabang said.

If completed, the Pangasinan airport will first serve domestic tourists and later expanded to an international airport. With a 150-hectare runway, excluding its access roads, the Pangasinan Airport will be bigger than the Laoag International Airport which is only 70 hectares.

He said a foreign investor is also keen on building an 18-hole golf course in Alaminos to complement the airport project.