The province of Ilocos Norte welcomed more than 325,000 day visitors during the long weekend, according to the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO).
“This is 43.53 percent higher than the same period last year,” Xavier Ruiz, assistant tourism head of the Ilocos Norte government, said on Tuesday.
Ruiz said some establishments claimed this was their strongest so far, with arrivals peaking on April 7 at more than 80,000 day visitors.
Over the long weekend, the Manila North Road going up north became one of the busiest highways with a long queue of private and public utility vehicles stopping by to visit key tourist destinations in the province, such as the UNESCO-World Heritage site of Paoay, Madonna Dam in Dingras, Bangui windmills, and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos town.
Richard Tamayo, proprietor of Casa Consuelo in Barangay Balaoi, Pagudpud town, said they were fully booked from April 1 to 10.
“Kulang accommodation at resto ng Pagudpud (We are short of accommodation and restaurants in Pagudpud),” he added.
Nelly Cristobal, the owner of Casa Victoria in Barangay Saud, Pagudpud, also noted a huge crowd of visitors.
“We were busy and fully booked for the last five days. It was record-breaking actually for us,” Cristobal said, adding that they even prepared additional rooms in anticipation of the influx of tourists.
Aianree Raquel, head of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO), said Ilocos Norte continues to work on sustaining its gains in the local tourism recovery by ensuring that guests are safe and have a meaningful stay in the province.
Aside from accredited local tour guides, the INTO has deployed more than 200 tourism workers, utility personnel, and senior citizen guides to major tourist destinations in Ilocos Norte to serve as tourist aides.
They were assigned to man tourist assistance desks mostly located at the entrance of local government unit-managed tourist facilities or to act as first-aid personnel in case of emergency. (PNA)