Ilocos Norte tourism up with high visitor arrivals lent season

>> Tuesday, May 2, 2017

By Mizpah Grace G. Castro

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte  -- Ilocos Norte had  472,989 tourist visitors average a day during Holy Week, posting a six percent  increase compared to the same period last year with a record of 444,980.
The 2017 figure also shows a 103% increase in just two years, with 232,678 arrivals recorded in 2015.
Categorized as people who visit the Ilocos Norte's tourist attractions but do not stay overnight, "day visitors" are recorded by provincial tourism personnel deployed throughout 42 sites.
Top 10 destinations were the Bangui Windfarm with 119,840 visitors; the San Agustin Church of Paoay with 54,015; the Batac City Empanadaan and Immaculate Concepciion Parish with 42,035; the Blue Lagoon Resort in Balaoi, Pagudpud, with 30,048; Paseo de Paoay with 29,106; Badoc Gateway with 24,289; the La Virgen Milagrosa Shrine and Chapel in Badoc with 18,873; the Malacañang of the North with 16,483; Dingras town's Madongan Dam with 15,407 and Sta. Monica Church of Sarrat with 14,679.
Based on these figures, tourists flocked towards the southern tourism area (Paoay, Batac City, and Badoc) contrasting with the popularity of northern Ilcos Norte (Bangui and Pagudpud) last year.
The increase in visitors was attributed to docking of a cruise ship on the Currimao Port on Good Friday, April 14, which brought volumes of domestic and foreign tourists to the province.
"It was a busy week for Ilocos Norte, but we were able to cope. We anticipated the volume of people who arrived, and we were told in advance how establishments were fully-booked for Holy Week," said Ianree Raquel of Ilocos Norte Tourism Office. 
The INTO had deployed tourist aides and first-aid personnel throughout the province's attractions, with over 300 trained locals assisting visitors.
Tourist aides included senior citizens and retirees assigned as museum guides, a new element to the INTO's summer tourism program for locals.
"We also took it very seriously to work together with other stakeholders, since we knew that this year would be much busier," said Raquel, adding that along with tourists, they also anticipated waves of balikbayans or vacationing Ilocanos from overseas.
The province reached the 2-million mark of day visitor arrivals in 2016, receiving 2,031,884 for the entire year compared to 259,148 in 2012.
With regular features on local and international television, and aggressive campaigning to both potential investors and tourists, "Today, we see the biggest growth in our tourism sector, very dynamic and still growing,” said Gov. Imee R. Marcos.
"In Ilocos Norte, like a famous retail jingle, “We've got it all for you,” nature, heritage, adventure, food and shopping"


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