More visitors coming in as IN’s tourism door reopens

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), through the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office, has recorded an increased number of tourists in the province since it reopened its door to visitors last September 24 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of this writing, a total of 229 tourists visited the province. The biggest in single-day arrival was on October 10, with 51 tourists.

Most of them came from the National Capital Region, Cagayan, Baguio City, La Union, and Pampanga.

“We’re happy to inform you that we have an increasing number of tourist arrivals in Ilocos Norte. I know that these are not impressive numbers compared to thousands before the pandemic. With our current situation, this is not bad at all,” Xavier R. Ruiz, Officer-in-Charge of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office, stated.

“We can see the trend that people from our neighboring provinces and regions are excited anew to visit our province. As usual, most of them would stay on the white beaches in Pagudpud for staycations while others would go around the province for sightseeing,” Ruiz added.

Recently, the “Come IN Online Travel Sale” was relaunched by the INTO to provide exclusive deals and bigger discounts to tourists who will book their trip in Ilocos Norte from October 1 to December 31, 2021.

“Through the ‘Come IN Online Travel Sale,’ we were able to encourage tourism establishments, composed of mostly accommodation establishments and travel agencies in the province, to participate.

Fortunately, we’ve been getting positive feedback and we have been receiving travel inquiries and bookings so we’re really expecting to have a steady, safe, and sure increase in tourists arrival now and until the Christmas season,” Ruiz remarked.

It may be noted that Ilocos Norte was the first province in the Philippines awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travels Stamp for adopting globally recognized health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, non-high-risk individuals below 18, fully-vaccinated individuals above 65 years old, and individuals with comorbidity, along with fully vaccinated pregnant women, are now welcome to travel to Ilocos Norte.

Department of Tourism officials said the said individuals are now allowed to travel in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) released the new guidelines allowing interzonal travel for these individuals under Alert Level 4.

“Kids, seniors, and even pregnant women are already allowed to travel in Ilocos Norte. However, as of now, we’re still requiring health protocol tests. This is to further ensure the safety and protection not only of our tourists but of the entire community as well. Also, for the record, we have no single tourist-related case of COVID, hence, our goal is to have safe tourism activities in Ilocos Norte,” Ruiz explained.

Since October last year, INTO had recorded visitors numbering almost 353,000 a day; locals, nearly 4,000 tourists; and APORs and staycation visitors, nearly 121,000.

So far, over 86% of the province’s total primary tourism workers were already inoculated with the anti-COVID vaccine. – (Stewart C. Ocampo, PGIN-CMO)