LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte is eying for a better planning and forecasting to ensure tourists will keep coming back to this premiere tourism destination of the north.
Last December, the Provincial Tourism Office has obtained a record high of 30,864 tourist arrivals or those who stayed overnight in hotels excluding day visitors in Ilocos Norte.
Just like in the previous holiday break last summer, Governor Imee Marcos said that hotel and restaurant associations here reported that they were fully booked from December 26 to January 3.
“We haven’t anticipated this huge number of tourists visiting us this December. It’s a good surprise but at the same time, nagkaubusan ng tubig at pagkain sa Pagudpud, Burgos at Paoay. So, it’s becoming more and more important to professionalize, to regulate and to anticipate these activities,” Marcos said owing to the long holiday break and the recent declaration of Vigan City in neighboring Ilocos Sur province as one of the reasons why tourists prefer to visit this northern part of Luzon.
This year, Marcos has urged the different local government units here including various tourism stakeholders to come out with a unified plan and better planning to anticipate tourism influx which is moving fast at a quick rate.
Owing to a number of crowd-drawing events and festivities organized by local government units including a two-hour travel time cut off from Manila to Laoag due to the opening of the new section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) which opened for motorists during the Christmas holidays and in time for Pope Francis’ visit, the governor underscored that Ilocos Norte must be ready especially in terms of tourism accommodation management.
“Lots of good news but also we must institute better planning,” Marcos said as she admitted that along with the influx of more tourists in the province, report on theft and robbery incidents in Ilocos Norte’s city landscape are increasing too.