The Tourism Department expects higher tourist traffic in Isabela as it pushes for the creation of more festivities that will encourage visitors to explore the scenic and cultural offerings of the province.
“We forecast increased tourist arrivals in the area as we bank on the Transportation and Public Works Departments to fast track tourism-related projects, such as the night rating of the Cauayan and Tuguegarao airports and the completion of the Cagayan Airport,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat.
“As reported by Tourism Region 2 office, we had a whopping 113 percent (increase) of visitor arrivals from 492,894 in 2017 to 751,249 in 2018 while our partial reports for 2019 stands at 536,182,” Puyat added.
Meanwhile, the convergence initiatives with Transportation Department in Ilagan City include the road to the Dairuk Hills in Santiago, which will be completed this year at a cost P55 million, and roads leading to Abuan-base River for ecotourism for P15 million and to the Japanese Tunnel for P30 million.
The department plans to make Isabela one of the country’s premiere provinces for its promising agriculture industry and richly-diverse natural attractions that make for a potential agro-ecotourism haven.
“Your rich flora and fauna in the Sierra Madre Forest and Palanan rainforest, the Sta. Victoria Caves and long stretches of sandy beaches and coves in the Pacific Coast and not to mention the Philippine Rise for great dives, are exciting products that would draw the discerning eco-tourist interest,” Puyat said Friday during the Bambanti Festival.
She said Isabela could very well be a world-class agri-ecotourism destination with experiential tour packages in rice planting or harvesting, fruit picking, mushroom production, bee farming and fishing.
“The Bambanti is a truly unique festivity as symbolized by the scarecrow believed to dispel pestilence as well as celebrate the Filipino virtues of hard work, strong family values and love for its fertile soil which all helped Isabela become the Rice Granary of the North,” said Puyat.