Ilocos Norte now a cruise line destination, tourist influx to boost this summerJan 20, 2017
The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) shared this week that Star Cruises, one of the biggest international cruise ship companies, has made Laoag (Ilocos Norte) one of their cruise home ports.
Mr. Xavier Ruiz, provincial tourism operations officer II, shared that Star Cruises' announcement of the province as one of the Superstar Virgo's destinations is "very good news for our tourism especially this up-coming summer season because they have noticed our province in terms of cruise industry which is one of the biggest sub-industries in tourism."
Superstar Virgo is a 13-storey vessel that has 935 cabins and can accommodate up to 2, 800 passengers and up to 1, 100 crew members. It also houses amenities such as outdoor swimming pool, 100-meter water slide, bar, gym, salon and spa, duty free shops and karaoke rooms.
From Manila, Superstar Virgo will dock at Currimao port where passengers can visit historical and cultural landmarks in Ilocos Norte, as well as top tourist destinations: the Bangui Windmills, Burgos Lighthouse, Kapurpurawan rock formation and white beaches of Pagudpud.
Citing the possible result of this endeavor, Ruiz said that the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) is 'expecting hundreds or even thousands of passengers to tour around our province for one whole day, and we expect our local restaurants, local souvenir shops and our local shopping centers to benefit from this.'
The cruise will sail from Hong Kong, Manila, Laoag, and Kaohsiung starting March 19 to May 23 which coinsides with the Philippine summer.
Tourist arrivals in the Yuletide season
Ruiz shared that the tourist arrivals last December totaled to 427, 819 which is 10.77% higher than the same period last 2015.
The windmills, lighthouse, Paoay Church Complex and the Blue Lagoon Resort in Pagudpud remain the top destinations in the province.
Visit to the Ferdinand E. Marcos' Presidential Center in Batac City decreased compared to the same period in 2015 as a result of the former president's burial. Thus, the INTO together with the Presidential Center committee are planning to strategies new attractions to boost arrivals of tourists in Batac this summer.