400K tourists flock to I.N. on Holy Week

More than 400,000 day tourists spent their Holy Week vacation in Ilocos Norte, surpassing last year’s 232,678, the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office reported.

INTO head Aianree Raquel disclosed that the surge of tourists during the holidays last week meant a 91.24% increase or a total of 444,980 tourists compared to last year.

“The day tourists were counted by our personnel who were deployed in the 32 tourist centers and sites in the province,” said Raquel explaining that the day tourists are the ones who only visit the attractions in the province without the intention to stay in hotels and related establishments for a night.

Raquel also added the 33.33% increase was recorded by the accommodation registry from 49,518 in 2015 to 66,024 this year, noting that most hotel, homestays and other accommodation establishments registered at INTO were all fully-booked.

The northern tourist trail received the highest number of visitors during the Holy Week with the Burgos Lighthouse Museum receiving 137,737; followed by the Bangui Windmills with 61,363 tourists; resorts in Balaoi, Pagudpud at 33,068; with Patapat Bridge and Paraiso ni Anton also in Pagudpud at 33,068.

INTO’s data also showed that the Marcos Heritage Trail consistently received a high number of arrivals with the Marcos Museum welcoming 39,012 visitors and Malacanan of the North drawing 14,516 tourists. The UNESCO World-Heritage Paoay Church also recorded 19,959 visitors.

Governor Imee R. Marcos sees the rise in tourist arrivals translates to the development of the local economy by paving the way to the creation of meaningful jobs for Ilocanos.

Raquel, however, admitted that the high number of tourists posed several challenges especially in the maintenance of facilities despite being “impressed and overwhelmed” with Ilocos Norte’s performance last week.

“We have observed during Holy Week the certain areas that we have to work and we now have to consider the high volume of arrivals in the planning and construction of our new (tourism) infrastructures,” he added.

Attaining its goal of steady growth through the years, Raquel expressed his gratitude to the private sector and organizations like the Bakers Restaurant Association in Ilocos Norte for their continuing cooperation with the provincial government.

“The support of our partners has always been a big help in improving the quality of services and in achieving our goals,” said Raquel who also cited the contribution of the 300 tourist aides employed in Paoay Kumakaway! Summer Employment Program.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Ilocanos and tourists alike joined the revelries as Governor Marcos led the launching of the ‘Ilocos Rocks’ in Currimao town on Black Saturday, March 26.

Ilocos Rocks is a concert series happening this summer which is aimed to enliven the stunning rock formations in the province especially the ones in Culili Point in Paoay town and the famous Kapurpurawan in Burgos town, said Raquel.—(John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO)