Ilocos Norte starts preparation for tourist influx this summer

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) has its preparations underway for the summer as thousands of tourist are expected to flock in Ilocos Norte during the season, revealed by Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO).

Based on their data, last year’s summer season (April to May) has welcomed the highest tourist arrivals in Ilocos Norte pegged at 878, 258; holy week alone has reached more than 350,000.

INTO Head Aianree Raquel said during an interview that they are “now in the process of putting together and finalizing the province’s summer programs [and events] for 2016” which will kick-off this upcoming Holy Week.

He said that the provincial government is now accepting applications for its summer employment program dubbed as the Paoay Kumakaway! Summer Program, adding that “application process has started and we will be setting interview dates as soon as we are able to generate enough applications before the Holy Week.”

The said program offers employment opportunities to out-of-school youth and students who are at least 18 years old as they are expected to serve as tourist aides, utility personnel and paramedics across the 42 tourist centers across the province, noted earlier by INTO.

Aside from that, preparations include “massive maintenance and repair work of different facilities” which will be initiated by INTO in partnership with the Provincial Engineering Office.

“We’re trying to really focus on revisiting our tourism sites, and aside from the maintenance work, repair work, we are also trying to integrate new improvements in our facilities as well as attractions or exhibits in our different sites,” said Raquel.

According to the surveys conducted by INTO, 60% of the tourists visiting Ilocos Norte are returning guests thus Governor Imee R. Marcos has seen the need to intensify the establishment of more museums and new tourism sites in the province.

Last year, she led the launching of the Taoid Museum in Laoag City, Balay Dingras,Burgos Lighthouse Museum as well as the renovation of the Paoay Convent Ruins.

Raquel highlighted that Ilocos Norte should always give out the best impression among tourists especially to the returning ones.

With this, he noted that local and foreign tourists alike will have the best time in the province this summer season as “vibrant activities and newly-added attraction and shows” are in store for them.

“We are already finalizing our calendar of events and it will include a Black Saturday Party in Pagudpud for our tourists; we are also initiating a new event for Easter Sunday here in Laoag,” Racquel added.

INTO also plans the establishment of a weekend market for the entire summer season which takes inspiration from the annual ‘Tiendaan ni Gob’ which runs for a week every February at the Ilocos Norte Dap-ayan.

“For summer, we are doing it as a regular activity for the weekends but we are trying to maximize and to integrate other products; not only food but also handicrafts, artisanal items, products from our local artists,” noted Raquel. 

The month of May will also see the comeback of the La Milagrosa Provincial Fiesta which will be headlined by the fifth Himala sa Buhangin! Arts and Music Festival at Paoay Sand Dunes as well as the Miss Ilocos Norte 2016.

“All the details will be released very soon, but there’s a very high anticipation, especially because we have simply been getting a lot of tourists throughout the past months,” said Raquel.—John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO