Over 525,000 tourists spent Holy Week in Ilocos provinces, say LGUs | Inquirer News

Over 525,000 tourists spent Holy Week in Ilocos provinces, say LGUs

A family takes a photo in front of the St. Augustine Church, a Unesco World Heritage Site, in Paoay town in Ilocos Norte on Maundy Thursday, April 6. The church remained a top tourist destination during the long Holy Week break. (Photo courtesy of Alfonso Jeziel de los Reyes)

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur are on pace to revive their tourism industries, which had been battered by COVID-19 in the past three years, as more tourists visited these provinces during the long Holy Week break.

More than 325,000 day tourists visited Ilocos Norte during the long weekend,” the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (Into) said in a statement on Tuesday, April 11.


Into said the figure was 43.53 percent higher than the same period last year, when most quarantined curbs started to ease.


Arrivals during the long Holy Week break this year were even higher by 81.28 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

“This signals a revival in the industry, which is a main driver of economic growth in the province,” the provincial government said.

Among the top tourist destinations in the province were the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) World Heritage St. Augustine Church, Malacañang of the North, and Sand Dunes in Paoay; Madongan Dam in Dingras; Bangui windmills; Kapurpurawan rock formation and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos; St. John the Baptist and La Milagrosa Cove and Chapel in Badoc; and the Blue Lagoon Resort in Pagudpud.

These tourist attractions recorded between 6,000 and 10,000 daily visitors, the provincial government said.

Across the province, arrivals peaked on April 7 with 80,000 day visitors, the provincial government said.

Xavier Ruiz, senior tourism operations officer, said the reports from stakeholders and local businesses showed that it “was the strongest Holy Week [vacation break] yet, even surpassing the pre-pandemic years.”


He noted that big hotels, including the Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel in Laoag City, and small accommodations in the province were at full capacity.

Nelly Cristobal, a resort owner in Pagudpud, was elated with the turnout of tourists, describing the long break as “lively and bustling” for her business.

“We were fully-booked from April 4 until April 9 to the point that we were unable to accommodate walk-ins,” Cristobal said, adding that it “was the first time I have seen such a large number of tourists” during the period.

In Ilocos Sur, initial estimates from the tourism office revealed that the long break possibly drew around 200,000 visitors to the province, according to John Noel Andaya, provincial tourism officer, during a radio interview.

Accommodation facilities across the province were fully-booked, Andaya said.

He said that the arrivals recorded during the long break were a positive indicator that the province’s tourism industry has bounced back from the losses due to the pandemic and from the wreckage on major tourist sites after the magnitude-7 earthquake in July last year.

For both provinces, manpower has been deployed to ensure the safety of and provide help to visitors.

In Ilocos Norte, tourist ambassadors, trained in first-aid response, and tourist police officers were deployed to several attractions.

In Ilocos Sur, the provincial government ordered the establishment of a tourist help desk. INQ


Over 7,000 cops, force multipliers deployed in Ilocos to ensure …

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Holy Week in PH: Crowded churches, mountains and beaches are back

TAGS: Holy Week 2023, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Tourism

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