Tourist arrivals hit 680,000 mark

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Some 680,000 domestic and foreign tourists visited Ilocos Norte’s scenic and historical spots during the Holy Week long vacation, local officials here disclosed.

Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel reported the figure based on collected data reports from owners of hotels, homestay, lodging houses, police traffic and tourist centers around the province.

All hotels and transient homes with a capacity of 26,000 rooms were fully booked with tourist-guests and the spillover went to private houses and homestay.

Others set up tents near the beaches and resorts. Texicano Hotel in Laoag City, for instance, has only 50-room capacity but it admitted 468 guests during the Holy Week vacation break.

Major restaurants and small time carinderias noted the dramatic increase of tourists this year. As visiting customers who wanted to taste Ilocano cuisine like bagnet, longanisa, empanada and miki, they had to line up in queues waiting for their term to be served.

The remarkable tourist arrivals brought instant source of livelihood to the locals who put up food stalls and sold assorted souvenir items to the visitors.

Gov. Imee R. Marcos expressed satisfaction on the increase of international and domestic tourists coming to Ilocos Norte, and the growing interest to recognize Ilocos Norte as one of the country’s top tourist destinations.

She said Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos town, Pagudpud beaches, Bangui Windmill and Viewdeck, Paoay Sand Dunes, Marcos Museum and others were among the tourists’ favorites. “The provincial government did not expect this number of tourist arrivals this part of the year,” she added.

Also, the Marcos Museum in Batac City was filled with tourists excited to take a look at the Marcos Family collection memorabilia and the preserved remains of the late President Marcos.

Moreover, tourists flocked everyday to the Paoay Sand Dunes based on reports from 4×4 and sandboarding operators in the area.

Also, last April 8, Yahoo Philippines listed “Pagudpud” as one of the top trending topics.

Raquel said “the increased number of visitors was overwhelming and our collective efforts to invite people to come and see our rich heritage and tourist attractions have reaped positive results.”

One factor that contributed to the tourism boom is the provincial government’s tourism campaign ‘Paoay Kumakaway!,’slogan which reached out to million viewers through TV commercials and through billboards showcasing Ilocos Norte’s finest tourist destinations which were set up along the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila and at the Light Trail Transit (LRT) 1 and 2 routes.

Also, the province has TV commercials running on four NAIA screens at the east and west arrival concourse of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 and at the arrival concierge of Terminal 2.

The TV commercial of ‘Paoay Kumakaway!’ is also shown on TFC North America, Unang Hirit, in between movies, news and current affairs, and games from 7 PM to 11 PM daily.(PGIN Website news)