NEW FAVORITE. Cruise ship passengers savor the scene at the international seaport of Currimao town in Ilocos Norte, an emerging major port of call for international cruise lines. (File Photo by Leilanie G. Adriano)

LAOAG CITY — Cruise tourism is emerging as a sunrise industry in Ilocos region, as the ports of Currimao and Omnico Resources Inc. in Badoc, Ilocos Norte, among others, become major ports of calls for international cruise ships.

Travel operators in this region are looking forward to welcoming more cruise line visitors in this northern gateway of Luzon in 2019.

For this year alone, Superstar Virgo made 18 calls to the Ilocos seaport, along with other cruise lines, such as M/V Diamond Glory and Costa Atlantica Cruise, among others.

As such, locals are being made to maximize the benefits of the trend. The Department of Tourism (DOT) has been training residents on how to aptly host visiting cruise ships, anchoring their strength on the so-called "unique brand of Ilocano hospitality."

"With the arrival of international cruise ships in the Ilocos region, the DOT has intensified training programs to enable locals to become more tourist-friendly and create excellent guest experiences," DOT Regional Director Martin Valera said on Tuesday.

The DOT has started another seminar on cruise tourism at the Playa Tropical Beach Resort in Currimao town.

Local tourism officers, stakeholders from various local government units in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, and private entities engaged in international cruise shipping lines in Currimao seaport and in Salomague port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, are attending the event.

Martin Valera said the seminar, slated on Nov. 27-29, aims to optimize the benefits of cruise ship visits in the Ilocos province by training host communities on how to become effective customer service providers.

Specifically, the three-day seminar will focus on desirable tourism industry frontline hospitality interventions.

It also aims to provide host communities with livelihood opportunities, such as selling souvenir items, local produce, and Ilocano delicacies. (PNA)