Around 680, 000 local and foreign tourists visited Ilocos Norte during Holy Week.
According to Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel, the figure is based on reports from owners of hotels, homestay, lodging houses, traffic and tourist center collected data from around the province.
All hotels and transient homes with a capacity of 26, 000 rooms were booked and spillover went to private houses to homestay and others set up tents around the major destinations. Texicano Hotel for instance, with only 50 rooms but received 468 guests last holy week.
Major restaurants and small time carinderias noted the dramatic increase of tourists this year. Customers who wanted to taste Ilocano cuisine like bagnet, longanisa, empanada and miki had to line up in queues for them to get served.
The remarkable number of tourists brought livelihood to the locals who put up food stalls and sold souvenir items in key destinations.
Governor Imee R. Marcos expressed her satisfaction on the increase of international and domestic tourists, and the growing interest to recognize Ilocos Norte as one of the country’s top destination.
Gov. Marcos said Kapurpurawan Rock Formation of Burgos, Pagudpud beaches, Bangui Viewdeck and Windmill, Paoay Sand Dunes, Marcos Museum and others were the favorites among tourists. “The provincial government did not anticipate this number of tourists this year,” she added. Also, the Marcos Museum in Batac was filled with tourists excited to take a look at the Marcos Family collection and the remains of President Marcos.
Moreover, Paoay Sand Dunes was host to more than a thousand tourists everyday based on reports from 4×4 and sandboarding operators in the area.
Also, last April 8, Yahoo Philippines listed “Pagudpud” as one of the top trending topics.
Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel says, “The increase number of visitors was overwhelming and our efforts to invite people to come and see our rich heritage and tourist attractions have reaped positive results.”
One factor that contributed to the hike of tourists is the provincial government’s tourism campaign ‘Paoay Kumakaway!,’ which reached out to million households through TV commercials and through billboards showcasing Ilocos Norte’s finest tourist destinations along the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila and at the Light Trail Transit (LRT) 1 and 2 routes.
Also, the province has TV commercials running on four NAIA screens at the east and west arrival concourse of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 and at the arrival concierge of Terminal 2.
The TV commercial of ‘Paoay Kumakaway!’ is also shown on TFC North America, Unang Hirit, in between movies, news and current affairs, and games from 7 PM to 11 PM daily.
According to Communications and Media Officer Jun Arvin Gudoy, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) in collaboration with the Tourism Office shall continue to beef up the marketing of the tourism brand, ‘Paoay Kumakaway!’ through outdoor advertisements and online promotions. (Ilocos Norte Media Bureau)