TOURISM BOOST. Ilocos Sur Governor Jeremias Singson presides over a meeting with tourism stakeholders on Feb. 8, 2023 in preparation for the maiden voyage of the Silver Spirit cruise ship. The cruise ship is expected to dock at the Salomague Port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur on Feb. 14, 2023. (Photo courtesy of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur)

LAOAG CITY – A luxury cruise ship is set to dock at the Salomague Port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur with about 500 passengers from the United States and Europe.

To prepare for the arrival of Silversea Cruises's Silver Spirit, the first international cruise ship to dock at the Salomague port in three years since the pandemic began, Ilocos Sur Governor Jeremias “Jerry" Singson pledged to ensure the safety and security of the tourists by enhancing police visibility where the visitors would go.

“Ilocos Sur is a safe destination for tourists,” Singson said as he thanked the ground handler Travel Ilocandia for bringing the tourists on a guided tour to the province.

He said cultural performers, courtesy of the Ilocos Sur government, would provide entertainment to the cruisers and offer activities to make their visit memorable.

Department of Tourism personnel will also provide welcome leis and tokens upon their arrival at the seaport.

According to the ground handler, some of the cruisers have availed of a six-hour walking tour in the province, specifically in Vigan City and San Vicente.

Other options are also available for them should they wish to visit nearby tourist attractions in Ilocos Norte.

As part of the government’s economic recovery plans, the Salomague port has been upgraded in 2021 with a reinforced concrete Platform Back-Up Area and RC Pier Extension to increase cruise calls in this northern Luzon island, which is strategically located near the popular beaches and heritage sites of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.

With the continuing improvement of the Vigan Airport and road widening projects in this northern gateway of the north, local officials expressed confidence that the improved port will entice more investments and job opportunities in the province.

Other port projects in Sta. Catalina and San Esteban, still in Ilocos Sur, are also being improved to provide more job opportunities for the Ilocanos. (PNA)