Ilocos Norte gears for second season of luxury cruise ship arrivals

By Ma. Christian A. Ramos, PGIN-CMO

Anticipating high tourist arrivals, Governor Imee R. Marcos urged locals to continue developing more tourist destinations for passengers of Star Cruises’ luxury ship Superstar Virgo set to dock again at Currimao, Ilocos Norte this December.

“I am hopeful that areas nearby like Batac [City], Badoc, and Paoay will develop ng mga kanya-kanyang pampasikat, mga tourist destination, para mapuntahan, so that everyone can maximize and makinabang dun sa sinasabing maximum tourist capacity of 2,600 every five days.”

The Superstar Virgo is one of Star Cruises’ luxury ships which made its maiden arrival last March 20, marking the birth of Ilocos Norte’s cruise ship industry. For three months, the ship brought thousands of tourists every week into Ilocos through the Currimao port.

Ianree Raquel, provincial tourism officer, considered the pilot arrival as a “true milestone for the province,” adding how important it is for the province to make and sustain their good impression by ensuring that visitors have premier attractions to see in Ilocos Norte.

The cruise ship’s arrival also brought sustainable livelihood to locals. Small and medium enterprises like souvenir shops selling local delicacies and handcrafts were put up. Van rentals and tour packages boomed as well, creating more jobs for local tourist guides, seasonal drivers and tour agencies.

Meanwhile, Governor Marcos noticed the need to develop the port’s services and facilities, particularly the construction of a finger pier to eliminate the need to use tender boats in transporting passengers from the ship to the port. She reiterated that the Provincial Government continues to partner with national agencies; namely the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), for the improvement of the Currimao Port.

“We look forward to their coming this December, at sana mapaghandaan nang mas maigi, at maayos na natin yung ating puerto,” Governor Marcos stated.

Superstar Virgo is expected to dock every five days from December until May 2018, promising high tourist arrivals throughout Ilocos Norte’s bicentennial foundation celebration in February. – (Ma. Christian A. Ramos, PGIN-CMO)

Photo credit to Alaric Yanos/PGIN-CMO