TRAVEL FAIR. People swarm the Ilocos Norte booth at the Philippine Travel Mart at the SMX Manila in Pasay City on Saturday (Oct. 1, 2022). Ilocos Norte Senior Tourism Officer Xavier Ruiz said the province generated PHP4,394,520 in sales during the three-day travel bazaar. (Photo by Leilanie Adriano)

LAOAG CITY – A three-day travel fair in Manila has generated almost PHP4.5 million in sales for Ilocos Norte, contributing to the province's efforts to bounce back from the slump caused by the coronavirus disease 2019.

Gervy James Gumarit, Ilocos Norte government information officer, said the province earned PHP4,394,520 from tickets, accommodations, tours, and visas, including additional sales from Ilocano food and non-food products amounting to PHP58,000, during the fair organized by the Philippine Tour Operators Association from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

“Among our best-selling products at the fair were bagnet and longganisa among others,” he said, adding that they had to restock by the second day.

Participating in the 33rd staging of the Philippine Travel Mart were 300 exhibitors from 12 regions representing different brands and institutions in the tourism, hospitality, and travel and tours industries.

“Our diverse options for travel packages and the very adventure that comes along with our province’s culture, food, and natural wonders enticed eager travelers in the three-day travel trade fair,” Xavier Ruiz, senior tourism officer of Ilocos Norte, said.

He said compared to when Ilocos Norte last joined in 2019, this year's figures were an even bigger “blockbuster.”

Ilocos Norte's booth featured designs inspired by the Kapurpurawan natural rocks formation and windmills.

Attending the fair were Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrel and Bangui's pride social media influencer Michelle Dy, both of whom are Ilocos Norte’s tourism ambassadors and shared their thoughts on why tourists should include Ilocos Norte in their bucket list.

Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta-Marcos also attended the event to promote Ilocos Norte and strengthen its linkages with other regions across the country.

Ruiz said Ilocos Norte’s comeback at the Philippine Travel Mart with potential sales of PHP9.5 million has helped in the recovery of the province's tourism and its micro, small, and medium enterprises.

For those who were unable to join the country’s biggest travel bazaar, Ruiz urged the public to head over to the Ilocos Norte government website (www.ilocosnorte.ph) for more affordable travel deals. (PNA)