Senior citizens help promote Ilocos Norte’s ‘culture tourism’


LAOAG CITY — At least 30 senior citizens have joined the first batch of 300 newly-hired tourism ambassadors who will assist tourists visiting Ilocos Norte’s major tourism destinations this summer.

Xavier Ruiz of Ilocos Norte’s tourism office shared this development on Tuesday, saying the province has become the first in the country to implement this special employment program for senior citizens who are raring to work and share their insights with the younger generation.

Under the provincial government’s tourism employment program, Ruiz said seniors will take part in the promotion of “culture tourism”, such as in manning museums and other heritage buildings.

Since 2012, it has been hiring students and unemployed individuals during summer for the expected influx of both foreign and domestic tourists.

In 2017, Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa Marcos opened employment opportunities for senior citizens and retirees, saying they have a deeper knowledge and richer experience in terms of sharing Ilocos Norte’s history to visitors.

The seniors’ inclusion as tourist aides, according to 64-year-old Henry Yaplito, is a “sign of compassionate leadership”.

Yaplito, a former medical overseas worker, said he is grateful for the opportunity to serve as a museum guide as he would be able to impart his knowledge of the rich Ilocano culture and traditions.

For this year, the seniors were deployed in at least nine museums and churches in Ilocos Norte.