LAOAG CITY – Due to the surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the National Capital Region (NCR) and its surrounding provinces, the tourist triage in Ilocos Norte has temporarily stopped welcoming tourists from these high risks areas since Monday (March 22) until April 4, a tourism advisory from the Ilocos Norte government said.
Except for those coming from the NCR, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal, the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office said its pilgrim sites and other accredited new normal tourism sites and facilities will remain open for visitors.
“We must find ways to make travel possible and more convenient but safety must still be the core of our guidelines,” provincial tourism officer Aianree Raquel said on Tuesday.
As of this posting, Raquel reported they have no confirmed tourist bookings yet for the Holy Week amidst a month-long summer travel sale the province initiated to entice tourists.
Barely five months since Ilocos Norte opened its border to tourists, the province welcomed its 1,000th guest on March 19.
With the province’s collective effort to build up tourist confidence to travel again, Raquel hopes that the tourism industry will bounce back and recover slowly and responsibly, one guest at a time.
Before the pandemic, the Lenten season used to be a blockbuster in terms of tourist arrivals with more than half-million recorded visitors in 2019.
Aside from the frequently visited heritage churches and scenic spots such as the crystal clear beaches in Pagudpud, the windmill farms in Bangui, the Malacañang of the North in Paoay, and the Cape Bojeador lighthouse and Kapurpurawan rocks formation in Burgos town, the province is also promoting new normal attractions such as the newly-opened Chinese Garden in Suba as well as a free-diving activity in Badoc town, among others. (PNA)