BASCO, BATANES—The northernmost province of Batanes, particularly this capital town, is enjoying brisk tourist business in the first two months of the year.
As of January, Basco drew 3,635 visitors, a 23-percent increase compared with the same month last year when the town welcomed 2,789 tourists, provincial government and airline data showed. In February, Basco took in 4,673 tourists, a 34-percent increase from 3,071 visitors in February 2017.
Hegel Ruiz, Batanes provincial tourism officer, said the province monitors its visitors through an airport tourist registry as soon as they arrive at the Basco airport. Last year, 30,823 tourists landed at the airport.
Basco serves as the main entry point to Batanes. Philippine Airlines has three regular flights here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, although flights have been increased during peak tourist season. SkyJet sends flights on similar schedules.
PAL also began direct flights to Basco from the Clark International Airport in Pampanga province. Cebu Pacific plans to resume flights to Batanes on March 25, possibly via Clark.
Sky Pasada flies the Tuguegarao City-Basco route, although it has occasional flights to Basco from Manila. The Aboitiz Group partnered with local tour promoters for Wakay Air, which flies in travelers from Pasay City. —Nathan Alcantara, Contributor
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