PGIN doubles tourism fund for 2020Dec 27, 2019
Remaining relentless and aggressive in promoting the province's tourism sector, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) headed by Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc, approved the P 80 Million budget of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office for year 2020.
Currently standing at P40 Million, the additional P40 Million will be used to sustain the exponential increase in tourism revenue, reinvest in government-owned tourism facilities, and exceed tourist arrivals in the coming year.
P 32 Million from the General Fund was stipulated for the improvement of heritage sites, historic landscapes, and premier tourist destinations such as the Malacañang of the North and Paoay Sand Dunes; Kapurpurawan Rock Formation and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse Museum in Burgos; Tanap-Avis Falls in Burgos; and La Milagrosa Cove in Badoc, among others.
Equally, P4 Million will be used to construct the Magdalena Gamayo Weaving Center to further foster cultural growth in the province.
"Governor Matthew [Marcos Manotoc] wanted to invest more on our facilities and expand our tourism offerings. Our facilities are in constant need of maintenance and repair, especially with the foot traffic that we have.
"We were able to successfully come up and get it approved— a budget that is double than this year's. He wanted to study the funding for the different projects that we have and set priorities; not to remove projects but for us to be able to do more," explained Provincial Tourism Officer, Mr. Ian B. Raquel.
In 2018, INTO reported 3,003,963 day visitors, 33.91% higher than 2017 figures, and 1,056% higher compared to 2012 tourist arrivals.
"I have met with several tourism stakeholders. We have to ensure that all our properties should be utilized. We are re-investing in some of our tourist sites and targeting others to become new tourist sites," remarked Governor Marcos Manotoc.
Meanwhile, the soon-to-be revitalized "Provincial Tourism Code" will put up and federate various tourism associations. It will be constituted by representatives from the different sectors to improve the engagement of the private sector, concerned agencies, and other stakeholders.
Raquel further added: "For next year, we are looking forward to more activities, events, and offerings in the province. We are starting some efforts for international marketing. We are starting with our balikbayan market, our immediate clients.
Asia's largest cruise ship includes Ilocos Norte in itinerary
Affirming its global travel and tourism competency, Ilocos Norte was included in the itinerary of the Spectrum of the Seas, Asia's largest cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean International, where thousands of international passengers were able to visit the province.
A quantum-ultra class cruise ship, Spectrum of the Seas completed its maiden call in Salomague Port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, last December26.
"Most of the tours of the Royal Caribbean passengers are here in Ilocos Norte. The visitor influx from the cruise ship is shared by Ilocos Sur and our province," Mr. Xavier Ruiz, Ilocos Norte Tourism Office Operations Officer II, said.
The passengers had the opportunity to visit the Provincial Capitol Building and the Sinking Bell Tower in Laoag City; the UNESCO World Heritage Site St. Augustine Church, and the Malacañang of the North in Paoay; and the Robinsons Mall in San Nicolas.
Following Ilocos provinces, the ship's next stop will be in Subic, Zambales before its return in Hongkong.
On January 6 next year, the Spectrum of the Seas will dock again in Salomague Port while Ilocos Norte is also expecting the maiden arrival of The World, the largest privately owned residential yacht that can accommodate a maximum of 200 passengers and 280 crews that is operated by ROW Management, Ltd., at Currimao Seaport.