Ilocos Norte bags best tourism-oriented LGU award

LAOAG CITY — Ilocos Norte finally won the prestigious Pearl Award for Best Tourism-Oriented Province in the Philippines from the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) and the Department of Tourism.

“For two consecutive years, we were runner-up and we almost quit sending an application for the award, but thanks to the hard work of my colleagues at the provincial government and the help of many friends, we finally made it!” Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel said after receiving the award held in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental on Friday night.

Raquel said the province has been shortlisted after presenting its effort to legislate various measures and ordinances on sustainable tourism programs while generating more jobs for Ilocanos.

He cited the provincial government’s best efforts and initiatives to sustain the steady influx of tourists through various events and intensified promotion of the province’s natural and man-made attractions.

Among the province’s best practices are the creation of the Media Incentives Desk, which lures movie producers to shoot films in the province; the passage of the Provincial Tourism Code; and a clear cultural policy on sustainable tourism development.

ATOP recognizes the best practices of local government units (LGUs) in terms of creating and implementing policy reforms for tourism development.

The annual search for the best tourism-oriented LGUs in the Philippines is given to the province, city and municipality that show a sustainable tourism development program as defined in the Tourism Act of 2009.