Agri-Tourism in La Union
Agri-tourism shall serve as the mechanism to spur higher and transformed tourism activities and to intensify the marketing of investment potentials. It leverages on the endowed resources, natural beauty and hospitable and happy people of the province to improve competitiveness.
La Union goes beyond the legal definition of “agri-tourism” as the drawing power and potential economic impact of both agriculture and tourism are recognized. The agricultural assets of the province will be developed and tourist destinations will be promoted. Attractions may feature recreational and sports activities, gastronomical fare and ethnographic and cultural sites mostly located in the rural areas. Products, services and amenities as well as other resources of the province will also be improved and standardized to promote an appreciation of the local culture and to ensure proper accommodation of tourists.
La Union agri-tourism, therefore, are clustered attractions that either have agriculture and tourism elements or both. These clustered attractions are called circuits.
Five (5) Agri-tourism circuits were developed in the province composed of strategically-grouped LGUs based on geography, current assets and interdependence to contribute to the overall development of agri-tourism in La Union. These are the Northern, Central, Central Eastern, Southern and Southern Eastern tourism circuits. Each circuit is to be fully developed and is envisioned to provide a variety of agriculture and tourism products, activities and sites accompanied by support services and amenities necessary for La Union to be the Heart of Agri-Tourism in Northern Luzon and consequently, to achieve sustainable local economic growth for the benefit of the people of La Union.
Agriculture is the primary industry in the Province and the common denominator among its component LGUs. This is evident in the level of food sufficiency for the staple food commodities. This means that there is a stable and secured supply for food consumption and can offset fluctuations in production and price. Among the major staple food procedure with its sufficiency levels are: rice (124%), corn (194%), fish (105%), livestock (above 104%), fruits (166%), fruit vegetables (213%), leafy vegetables (225%) , root crops (223%) and legumes (91%). Moreover, each component LGU has its own unique agriculture industries which vary from tobacco, softbrooms, baskets, rice, wine (tapuey), sugarcane wine (Basi), sugarcane vinegar, wood crafts, native rice cakes, dried fish, honey and mushroom.
La Union capitalizes on the surfing activity in San Juan as it draws an increasing number of tourist arrivals through the years. As of 2015, tourist arrivals posted 392,477 individuals with an average length of stay of 1.3 days and an average occupancy rate of 31.46%. In addition, the Province also leverages on its existing products, attractions, and activities inclined with agriculture which include the Halo-halo de Iloko for agri-gastronomy, Bauang Grape Picking for direct sales of agri-products, Pugo Adventure Trail for agri-recreation, San Juan Surfing for agri-sports, and Baluarte in Luna for Ethnography, among others. The previously mentioned already have its drawing power which can be strengthened through initiatives such as destination marketing campaigns. This shall consequently contribute to the development of the tourism industry in the Province.