Ilocos Norte welcomes more tourists as COVID-19 cases fall

Tourist arrivals in Ilocos Norte have hit nearly 1000 visitors during the Halloween weekend as COVID-19 cases in the province fall.

Arrivals in October were influenced by the efforts of the Provincial Government and the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) in curbing its worst surge in cases, easing travel restrictions, and aggressive tourism promotions.

The province recorded its largest daily arrival amidst the pandemic on October 30, with 425 inbound travelers. The largest sources of markets were the National Capital Region, and the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Benguet, Cavite, Rizal, Tarlac, and Laguna.

Ilocos Norte registered at least 5,091 travelers from October 2020 to October 2021, a far cry from the more than 7,000 daily average during the same October to November season before the onset of the pandemic last year.

According to INTO, the majority of leisure travelers during the long weekend stayed in Pagudpud. Recently, the shoreline in Brgy. Saud in the said town has been hailed as among the “most beautiful” in the world by Travel+Leisure magazine.

Moreover, Ilocos Norte was the first province in the Philippines to be awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travels Stamp for its adoption of globally recognized health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the recent downgrading of the province’s community quarantine status, from General Community Quarantine to Modified General Community Quarantine, tourism establishments across the province are now permitted to operate at 50% capacity.

The Provincial Government continues to enforce mandatory testing before entry as the industry expects a “bigger” influx of leisure travelers. Recently, the cost of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests at provincial borders was reduced for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.

Ilocos Norte has effectively managed the number of active cases from 5000 around two months ago to 150 as of this writing.

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