In 2018, the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag remained to be the most visited tourist site in Ilocso Region with about six million visitors. (JNPD/PIA La Union)

A snapshot of the booming tourism of Ilocos Region

Planning a trip but not sure where to visit? Try heading north particularly in Ilocos Region.  

Four provinces comprise the region namely Pangasinan, the nearest to Manila, then La Union, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte.

With the expected completion of the the third and last section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union expressway in September, travelers will have more convenience in travelling up north.

So, what can the Ilocos provinces offer both to domestic and foreign visitors?

The Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte recorded half a million visitors in 2018.  The historic church, built in the 1960s, was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. (JNPD/PIA La Union)

In Ilocos Sur, another tourist spot is the Baluarte Zoo, a free-admission zoological park located in Salindeg village in the Heritage City of  Vigan. It is owned by former governor now Narvacan Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson.

Completing the list of top tourist attractions in 2018 is Urbiztondo Surfing Area in San Juan, La Union. Surely there are many surfing sites in the Philippines but surfing in San Juan would give any surfing enthusiast an incredibly different experience as it is, first and foremost, considered as the surfing capital of the north.

“These tourist destinations were just some of what our region can offer to both domestic and foreign visitors and we will continue our efforts in promoting Region 1 as a tourist destination choice for everyone,” Medina said.

The continued advocacy for the accreditation of tourism establishments paid off as the number of tourism establishments accredited by the Department of tourism (DOT) in the region reached 836 in 2018, more than twice since 2016.

“The accreditation program of DOT ensures that our tourism establishments are committed to the safety, comfort, and convenience of tourists through their compliance to standards,” Medina added.  

With the notable achievements of Region 1 in the tourism sector last year, the RDC-1 and all its stakeholders are committed to set their eyes of achieving the region’s vision to be the tourism hub in Northern Philippines.

Medina has confidence that “Our efforts to improve our transport and other infrastructure facilities will for sure contribute to achieving our tourism targets.”  (JNPD/PIA La Union)

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