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MANILA, PHILIPPINES – To propel the recovery of the tourism sector in the country, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), through the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO), is set to resume its operations after almost a seven-month community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic by opening its gateway for Luzon tourists starting October 15, 2020.

Ilocos Norte is the first province in Region I, alongside Baguio City, to welcome tourists as part of intra-regional collaborative efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Northern Luzon tourism.

Last month, delegations composed of Region I tourism officers, representatives from local government executives, and presidents of various tourism stakeholders associations, attended the launching of “Ridge and Reef Travel Corridor,” in Baguio City, formally reopening domestic tourism in the country.

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As a kick-off, INTO will conduct a drive-in concert at Suba, Paoay Sand Dunes, subsequently permitting tourism activities in the province’s national parks, geological monuments, and historic plazas such as the Paoay Lake, Laoag City’s Sand Dunes, and Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, among others.

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“To our kakailian who are concerned about the reopening of our tourism, we at the Provincial Government promised to do everything to place all safeguards possible. We will do it the safest way possible,” Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc stated.

Ensuring the seamless enjoyment and utmost safety of both tourists and residents, the Provincial Government has established a one-stop-shop pasalubong center called the Ilocano Migrants Monument Visitor Center in Laoag City and the Ilocos Norte Triage in the town of Pinili.

“It is very important to note that we are encountering very unique circumstances, things that we never really anticipated. But with the support of the Department of Tourism (DOT), we are opening tourism in Northern Luzon. We will start our recovery under the ‘new normal’ and we will do it surely, safely, and gradually.”

“Let’s survive this challenge that we are facing. Hopefully, maging successful ang reopening na ito para maging benchmark ito ng ibang cities and provinces sa bansa,” Provincial Tourism Officer,” Mr. Aian Raquel remarked.

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