Ilocos Norte is becoming the new tourist destination in light of Boracay Island’s total closure as more and more local and foreign tourists flock to the province.
According to Provincial Tourism Officer Aianree Raquel, more tourists are expected to visit this northern gateway of Luzon this summer, as visitors consider alternatives to Boracay.
Just this Holy Week season, Ilocos Norte saw an influx in their tourism as the province welcomed over 500,000 day visitors, posting an increase of at least 115 percent in three years, from the recorded 232,678 tourist arrivals in 2015.
Among the top 10 destinations in Ilocos Norte, the UNESCO-World Heritage Site of St. Agustine Church in Paoay is the most popular. Other top destinations include the Bangui Windmill Farm, the Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud, the Karpurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos and Cape Boajeador in Burgos, La Milagrosa Cove and gateway in Badoc, he Marcos Heritage Trail, the Davila seafood area in Pasuquin, the Batac riverside empanada, and the Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Batac, Ilocos Norte. Most hotels, homestays, and other accommodations are reportedly fully-booked.
The steady increase in in tourist arrivals only shows that Ilocos Norte is doing well in its promotions, as stated by Provincial Tourism Officer Raquel. But he also reminded all tourism stakeholders in the province to learn from what happened to Boracay.
“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.
Photographed By Noel Ty