Tourism traffic in Aurora grew by almost 12,000% over the past 11 years, mostly driven by the “surf, sea, and sun” offerings of the physically endowed province on the country’s Eastern Seaboard.
From the 10,782 tourist arrivals in 2007, the number of visitors in 2018 – both foreign and domestic – was a record-breaking 1,291,822, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, a native of the province, told True North.
“As I have repeatedly said, tourism is the low-hanging fruit that local government units can easily pick; provided, they craft a solid tourism plan that takes into consideration the concerns of the environment and sustainability,” said Angara, who chairs the Senate’s Committee on Local Government.
Angara added that well-prepared and comprehensive tourism plans are desirable because they create long-term strategies that factor in the protection of natural resources.
The prime attraction of Aurora is surfing in the capital town of Baler, which is now known as the birthplace of the country’s thriving surfing culture. Complementing the surfing activities in Baler are the world-class beaches spread across the coastal areas of Aurora, like the towns of Dipaculao and Casiguran.
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Rommel Angara said that the stable peace and order condition in the province and the natural hospitality of the Aurora people have also contributed immensely to the growth in tourism.
An inspired infrastructure build-up started by the brother-and-sister team of the late Senator Edgardo J. Angara and his sister, incumbent Rep. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, led to goad roads and bridges. The regular bus operations of Genesis Transport Service Inc. (GTSI), that runs modern air-conditioned buses to Baler on a round-the-clock basis, also help drive the tourism growth.
Baler is one of the only two destinations of Joy Bus, the luxury bus service of GTSI.
“Joy Bus is the full-sized, limited seats, toilet-equipped, and stewardess-served air-conditioned luxury transport to Baler,” said Rely Jalbuna operations manager of GTSI.
Senator Angara concluded that a full-blown airport, and further improvement of the province’s road networks would do wonders for Aurora’s tourism.