Chinese dominates Ilocos Norte’s foreign tourist arrivals

LAOAG CITY – More than three million tourists visited Ilocos Norte in 2018, with Chinese nationals dominating foreign tourist arrivals in this northern gateway of Luzon, the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) reported on Thursday.

Ilocos Norte’s tourism operations officer, Xavier Ruiz, said other foreign visitors who visited the province’s major tourism attractions last year included Americans, Europeans and Koreans.

“This is the sweet fruit of labor and the solidarity of all tourism stakeholders,” Ruiz said.

The latest record of the INTO shows the UNESCO-world heritage site of Saint Augustine Church in Paoay, Ilocos topped the most-visited place with 509,449 visitors, followed by the so-called Malacañang of the North with 387,118 visitors; Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos with 286,998 visitors; and the Paoay and Culilli Point Sand Dunes with 276,483 and 229,677 visitors, respectively.

In an effort to attract more tourists to the province, Ruiz bared plans to intensify the campaign on sustainable tourism by conducting an orientation program on environmental protection among tourism ambassadors.

“We’ve done lectures before on first aid, safety, and understanding tourists, but I think it’s about time to include basic lectures on how they can help in teaching our tourists to be more responsible,” he said.

During the peak season of tourist arrivals in summer and Christmas, INTO hires tourism ambassadors, and first aid and utility personnel to assist local and foreign tourists visiting the province.

This is also meant to provide alternative livelihood to local residents, including students and senior citizens, he added. (PNA)

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