LAOAG CITY, April 30 — Provincial government officials led by Gov. Imee Marcos have discussed with several airline companies about the proposed ‘international direct flights’ to Laoag International Airport here in Ilocos Norte.
Gov. Marcos said it is now high time that these airline companies should have international direct flights to L.I.A. due to local tourism boom in the province marked by the continuous influx of foreign and domestic tourists coming to Ilocos Norte.
It may be recalled that some 680,000 local and foreign tourists arrived here and stayed during the Holy Week vacation based on the verified records by the government tourism authorities presented to the media last month. It was also noted that many balikbayans (homecoming locals from abroad) from the towns of Bacarra and San Nicolas had requested for more commercial airplanes coming to Ilocos Norte due to the big volumes of air travellers vacationing in their homeland.
Most of the balikbayans’ request was to open an international direct flights , particularly Honolulu-Laoag route.
Discussed in the recent negotiation table was the proposed opening of direct flights of Honolulu-Laoag, Hong Kong-Laoag-Manila and Taipei-Laoag-Batanes routes and vice versa.
At present, the only ‘international flight’ is the airline from Macau that lands at L.I. A here twice a week. However, it lands in Laoag only to refuel and not to bring home balikbayans and foreign visitors.
At least three domestic airlines, namely, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines at Air Philippines Express are catering to air travelers coming from Manila to Laoag and vice versa on daily flights.
The local officials expressed optimism that the opening of international direct flights here would further boost the local tourism industry in Ilocos.
Gov. Marcos had intensified the province tourism campaign on the belief that tourism would further enhance economic growth and create more job opportunities for her constituents. (ANL/CPC-PIA1, Ilocos Norte)