Ilocos Norte and La Union aim to introduce additional markets, exchange new best practices, and create more opportunities for the stable recovery of tourism sectors in both provinces by renewing the Memorandum of Understanding for the “I’m IN LUV” marketing and promotions partnership on September 11, 2022, at Robinsons Place Ilocos.
Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) and Governor Raphaelle Veronica Ortega-David of the Provincial Government of La Union (PGLU) led the signing of the memorandum, which was witnessed by Provincial Tourism Officers Mr. Aian B. Raquel and Mr. Arthur S. Cortez, Jr. of Ilocos Norte and La Union, respectively.
Initially agreed upon in 2021, between Gov. Marcos Manotoc and Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III, the maiden launch of “I’m IN LUv” was a pioneering effort in Northern Luzon to promote the local tourism industry, products, and resources of partner provinces as the country eases travel protocols in the midst of the “new normal.”
The new MOU is effective until December of next year.
“We are very glad, we are very excited, and we look forward to this ‘revenge tourism’ that they speak of. We’ve been seeing it already this year, and we look forward to further developing our tourism here in Region I at talagang naniniwala po ako na Region I is one of the underappreciated areas in the entire Philippines. We have so much to offer,” Gov. Marcos Manotoc remarked.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ortega-David is hopeful for a more productive partnership, saying:
“Naniniwala po kami ni Gov. Matthew, kaya po ni-renew po natin itong MOU natin dahil marami na po tayong nasimulan, pero marami pa po tayong magagawa at naniniwala po akong mas marami pa pong oportunidad ang mabubuksan nito para sa ating kaprobinsiaan lalo na po sa sektor ng turismo sa Ilocos Norte at La Union.”
Ilocos Norte is known for its unique landscapes, iconic structures, and colonial architecture, while La Union is an in-demand surfing spot, a pioneer in agri-tourism, and a go-to for heritage crafts; and with the renewal of the MOU, both provinces are expected to boost this partnership by displaying marketing collaterals, conducting travel and trade shows, and conducting familiarization tours with travel agencies to develop collaborative tour packages, among others.
Taking a page from La Union, according to Gov. Marcos Manotoc, PGIN hosted the first-ever national surfing competition in the province called “SurfIN” from September 1 to 5, 2022 at Barangay Balaoi in Pagudpud town which successfully promoted sports tourism in the country and Ilocos Norte as the newest surfing destination in the North.
“This renewal of our tourism partnership is not only for us to learn from you, but also for us to help La Union. We are very fortunate now that our President is from Ilocos Norte and we want that to be an impetus not just for Ilocos Norte but the whole Region I including La Union,” Gov. Marcos Manotoc expressed.
Leading up to the signing, both Provincial Governments showcased their tourism offerings at the Tourism and Trade Exhibit, which ran from September 9 to 11.－Edison Justin B. Deus, PGIN-CMO