By Freddie G. Lazaro
SAN FERNANDO CITY – The arrival of cruise ship in Currimao Port at Currimao, Ilocos Norte has greatly helped in the promotion of the local tourism industry and the various local products in the Ilocos region, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Director Martin Valera, head of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Region 1, revealed that foreign tourists brought by the Hong Kong-owned luxury cruise ship, Star Cruises’ Superstar Virgo were attracted to the historical sites and local products that showcased by the provincial government of Ilocos Norte during their short visit in the Ilocos.
Starting on March 20, the cruise ship carrying at least 2,000 foreign tourists arrived at the Currimao Port in a five-day interval until May 2017.
The provincial government of Ilocos Norte had prepared tour packages and places for the tourists to visit such as the UNESCO heritage church – the Paoay Saint Augustine Church, museums, sand dunes adventure and the renewable energy farms.
“Upon the arrival of the tourists at the Currimao Port, they were welcomed by the stalls that showcased attractive and high quality products of the local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),” Valera said.
“With the arrival of the cruise ship in the Ilocos, we are not only promoting our local tourism sites and our products, but we are also boosting the livelihoods of the local MSMEs and we are creating job opportunities,” he added.
According to Valera, the next arrival of the cruise ship to Currimao Port is set in December.
He likewoise challenged the local MSMEs to improve their products to make them more attractive both to domestic and foreign visitors.
The arrival of the Star Cruises’ Superstar Virgo in Ilocos was initiated by the DOT and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in collaboration with the provincial government of Ilocos Norte.
“We initiated this cruise ship arrival strategy as part of the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) integration in the promotion of tourism industry in the South East Asia,” Valera said.
Aside from the Philippines, the cruise ship is also visiting the Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. (Freddie G. Lazaro/PIA-1)