Ilocos Norte’s tourist arrivals on the rise

LAOAG CITY — More local and foreign tourists are arriving in Ilocos Norte, making the province an alternative tourist destination in light of the total closure of Boracay Island.

Provincial tourism officer Aianree Raquel said Tuesday more tourists are expected to visit this northern gateway of Luzon this summer, as visitors consider alternatives to Boracay.

Based on the latest count, 500,000 tourists visited the province during the Holy Week alone.

Ilocos Norte’s tourism office reported the top 10 destinations as the UNESCO-World Heritage Site of St. Augustine Church in Paoay, the towering windmills of Bangui, the Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud, the Kapurpurawan White Rocks Formation and Cape Boajeador in Burgos, La Milagrosa Cove and gateway in Badoc, the Marcos Heritage Trail, the Davila seafood area in Pasuquin, the Batac riverside empanada, and the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

As of this posting, most hotels, home stays and other accommodations in the province reported that they were all fully-booked.

Raquel said the steady increase in tourist arrivals only shows that Ilocos Norte is doing well in its promotions.

Meanwhile, he reminded all tourism stakeholders in the province to learn from Boracay’s experience.

“What’s very important now is for us to keep our development sustainable. And we should be able to manage the environmental impacts of tourism in the province, so that we will not experience the same situation,” he said.