Ilocos Norte tourist arrivals hit 3 million in 2018

Jan 31, 2019 ...

Affirming Ilocos Norte's reputation as one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) reports 3,003,963 day visitors in 2018, 33.91% higher than 2017 figures, and 1,056% higher compared to 2012 tourist arrivals.

"This is the sweet fruit of labor and the solidarity of all tourism stakeholders,"  said Mr. Xavier Ruiz, tourism operations officer. He also commended the stakeholders and local government units (LGU) for gathering the data and submitting these to the INTO.

"Being able to communicate the importance of reporting accurately to our stakeholders is significantly paying off. We always say that it is not the only gauge of a successful tourism industry, but it is the most common and it is the first thing that everybody considers: how many tourists visit your area," he said. 

The San Agustin Church in Paoay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was most-visited place with 509,449 visitors, followed by the Malacañang of the North with 387,118 visitors; Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos with 286,998 visitors; and the Paoay and Culilli Point Sand Dunes with 276,483 and 229,677 visitors, respectively.  

Ruiz also added that Governor Imee R. Marcos and INTO are making efforts to further advance sustainable tourism, which is in sync with the Department of Tourism's goal of achieving tourism of both greater quantity and quality.  

"For this year, we would include in our orientation program of tourism ambassadors a lecture on environmental protection. We've done lectures before on first aid, safety, and understanding tourists, but I think it's about time... to include basic lectures on how they can help in teaching our tourists to be more responsible," Ruiz shared.

The INTO hires tourism ambassadors, first aid and utility personnel, and the like during summer and December peak seasons to accommodate tourist influx and to provide an alternative source of income for locals.  

Ilocos Norte won the Grand Prize as best tourism-oriented province in the ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards last year. This most-coveted recognition is jointly presented by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines and the Department of Tourism.

by Blessing Angel Agliam

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