Zambales doubles tourist sites

IBA, Zambales — The provincial government of Zambales disclosed that it has has doubled the number of tourist spots in the last three years despite the travel restrictions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said that there are now 340 tourism-related establishments in Zambales, more than the 151 tourism-related establishments recorded in 2018 that include beach resorts and other nature-themed attractions.

Provincial Tourism Officer Tel Mora, on the other hand, said that the pandemic has provided these businesses to expand by creating open spaces where tourists can enjoy their time without having to violate any restrictions.

“Aside from beach hotels and restaurants that offer open-air dining, three other accommodation types had surfaced and became hugely popular in the last three years: pool resorts, farm resorts, and campsites,” Mora said.

“These definitely helped local tourism to bounce back after an initial slowdown at the start of the pandemic,” she added.

Mora said that from the record of 692,380 local arrivals and 62,761 foreign arrivals in 2019, Zambales tourism declined to just 71,552 local and 1,063 foreign arrivals in 2020.

But new attractions perked up the trend to 100,488 local and 3,340 foreign arrivals in 2021, and then to 503,161 domestic visitors and 17,130 foreign tourists from January to June this year.

Figures from the Zambales Provincial Tourism Office showed that in 2018 there were a total of 151 accommodation establishments that were composed of beach resorts, inland accommodations, hotels and lodges or inns.

Most of these were found in towns with active beach scenes: San Antonio, which had 31; Iba, 28; Candelaria, 16; Subic, 15; and San Narciso, 14.

In 2019, the total number increased to 231; then to 273 in 2020, and 317 in 2021, before further climbing to 340 as of August 2022.

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