With its vibrant and dynamic tourism industry, the province of Ilocos Norte was cited as first runner-up in the Best Tourism-Oriented Local Government Unit category during the Department of Tourism-Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (DOT-ATOP) Pearl Awards held yesterday, October 6, 2016 in Clark, Pampanga.
Ilocos Norte Tourism Officer Aianree Raquel who led the delegation from the province in receiving the award beamed that “this is our first national award and our first time to compete.”
“This goes to Governor Imee R. Marcos for all her hard work…to all our stakeholders and our colleagues in the Provincial Government,” he added.
Ilocos Norte’s entry focused on Governor Imee R. Marcos’ laying down of definite steps toward making tourism as a driver of economic development and sustainability in the province through launching the PaoayKumakaway! tourism campaign in 2012.
Under this campaign, Ilocos Norte transformed from being a hollowed-out, gutted with various challenges such as poverty, crime and dormant bureaucracy into a progressive province filled with thousands of jobs for Ilocanos.
As such, the entry highlighted that “tourism is the largest job generating industry in Ilocos Norte” as it recorded a 20,789 jobs as it welcomed more than 1.6 tourists last year.
It also paved the way to the continuing refurbishment and development of new tourism facilities and sites, new roads, and active public-private partnership ensuring that everyone contributes to the development of Ilocos Norte.
Raquel noted that the award is an “affirmation that our efforts are going toward the right track after six years of hard work under Governor Imee,” hoping that, “this will inspire everyone in Ilocos Norte to work harder, with the same passion and dedication that kept us together for the past years.”
Tourism events such as the annual HimalasaBuhangin! Arts and Music Festival and the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festival remain to be the biggest tourist attraction in the province, creating not only thousands of local jobs but the overwhelming influx of tourists in the province.—(John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO)