The Department of Tourism (DOT) is keen on working together with local government units (LGU) in planning the development of the Northernmost tip of Luzon.
Tourism Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Advocacy Katherine de Castro disclosed the department’s plans to work hand in hand with LGUs to look at the ongoing construction boom in Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte and to manage its rapid development.
Speaking at a hotel inauguration in Balaoi, two hours away from Laoag, de Castro noticed how progressive Pagudpud has become in such a short span of time. “It is time to do something about it to avoid congestion,” citing Boracay and Puerto Galera as cases in point.
She said it is Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo’s directive to spread out the tourism spotlight across the Philippines. “We are a country of 7,107 islands. It is about time we explore other undiscovered and uncharted destinations as well. It is about time they get the rightful attention and opportunity.”
“Our unique mandate in tourism requires us to strike a balance between selling destination and safeguarding our natural wonders for generations to come. Sustainability remains a key principle. That is to say, the demand is only as good as the product,” Teo was quoted saying.
In a latest DOT Region I’s initial survey, Ilocos Region received an estimated 1.7M international tourists last year, 12 percent up from arrivals in 2015. In December of last year alone, close to a thousand air arrivals were registered at Laoag, which is 0.17 percent of the total air arrivals to the country that month. It foresees growth to double by yearend as new chartered flights from China started arriving since latter part of 2016 and as the region expects multiple ports call in Currimao from Star Cruises in March to May of this year to bring in more than 4,000 guests onboard each dock, in addition to other international cruise lines to arrive this year.
De Castro, who arrived in Laoag on Saturday along with guests that include 2016 Miss International Kylie Versoza, 2016 Miss Earth Katherine Espin, and 2013 Miss World Maegan Young, represented the tourism chief at the inauguration and blessing of Hannah Resort’s newest premium suite wing.
She capped her two-day trip visiting Paoay, Bangui, Burgos, and Laoag, where she also met with some LGU officials and tourism stakeholders to discuss joint tourism development and promotional efforts in time for summer peak season.