Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tourist influx in Ilocos Norte continues

By Bernard Ver

LAOAG CITY—Provincial officials said an estimated 500,000 tourists visited the province during the Holy Week.

They also mentioned that they expect more influx of tourists in the province for the coming holiday and summer season, as well as the shifting of the country’s school calendar.

Among the top destinations in the province include the St. Augustine Church in Paoay; the Kapurpurawan rock formation in Burgos; the windmills of Bangui; the Blue Lagoon at Balaoi, Pagudpud; La Milagrosa Cove and Gateway of Badoc; Marcos Heritage Trail in Sarrat; Davila Seafood Area; the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos; and the Empanada food stalls and church of Batac City.

Tourists are coming in both from land and air. Bus companies servicing the Ilocos Norte route said they are ready to cater to the tourists. Laoag International Airport (LIA) manager Ronald Estabillo, for his part, said the airport is ready to welcome both domestic and foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte government tourism office Aian Raquel said the recent closure of Boracay Island, a popular tourist destination, became a “big plus” for the province. He, added though, that the Boracay issue should serve as an “important reminder” to all tourism stakeholders both in the province and in the country.

“The closure [of] Boracay sends a very important message to all destinations in the country, including Ilocos Norte. What’s very important now is for us to keep our development sustainable and we should be able to manage the environmental impacts of tourism in the province, so that, we will not experience that situation,” Mr. Raquel said.

The Department of Tourism's (DOT) data on monthly visitor arrivals in the country hit all-time high of 732,506 in January. DOT officials credited the impressive figure, indicating a 15.97 percent rise from January last year up to present. These figures are gathered by the DOT Tourism Research and Statistics Division under the Office of Tourism Planning.

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