LAOAG CITY - Revenge travel continues to boost Ilocos Norte’s tourism industry, with tour operators calling for additional English-speaking tour guides ahead of the expected arrival of over a thousand cruise ship passengers at Currimao seaport on Nov. 1.
Xavier Ruiz, officer-in-charge of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office, told journalists Wednesday that revenge tourism, or post-pandemic travel, is “real” in this northern gateway, with almost 3 million visitors in 2022, way higher than the 800,000 in the previous year.
“Our tourism establishments would say there is no more lean season -- just peak and super peak,” he said.
Ruiz said this is the reason for further promoting the province as a premiere tourism destination to boost economic growth.
“There’s a huge potential in cruise tourism that is why, we are doing our best to spread the market,” he added.
In a social media post on Wednesday, Laoag-based Travel Ilocandia Tours and Travel said free training will be provided to interested English-speaking tour guides who will be assigned to assist the arriving guests next week.
For the first time in three years, Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line’s vessel is going around Asia and the Currimao seaport in Ilocos Norte will be among its stops in the Philippines. Its other destinations in the country are Boracay Island and Palawan.
It was learned that the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship will visit 11 countries and sail from nine different departure ports including those in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Taipei, Bali, Tokyo and Yokohama, and Incheon.
Ilocos Norte Tour Guides Association data show that there are around 300 active tour guides in the province to date.
In anticipation of the arrival of more cruise lines at the Ilocos seaport, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) recently upgraded its facilities and terminals to accommodate huge cruise ships and cruise passengers.
The PPA earlier reported that over 40,000 tourists are expected to visit the Philippines in the last quarter of this year via cruise ships of industry giants AIDA Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises and Windstar Cruises.
Last Oct. 16, World Cruise Awards named the Philippines as the Best Cruise Destination in Asia for 2023, besting India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
As of September 2023, the PPA facilitated the entry of 46,657 cruise passengers since tours to the country resumed last February. (PNA)