Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco expressed that the Department of Tourism (DOT) is keen on building one (1) of the ten (10) pilot “tourism rest areas” in Ilocos Norte during a meeting with Governor Marcos Manotoc in Makati City last October 24.
It is part of the department’s tourism development strategies, underscoring the construction of clean restrooms as the most basic aspect of travel, furnished with a lounge for tourists to rest in and a trade center for local goods, and provided with information on local destinations.
The service area will be built at Saud Beach Park at Brgy. Saud, Pagudpud. In April 2021, the international magazine Travel+Leisure named Saud Beach among the 25 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World for “its white sand pitches gradually into the clear-as-glass water, like a real-world example of a zero-entry swimming pool.”
Along with Gov. Marcos Manotoc was the Provincial Tourism Officer, Mx. Aian Raquel, who presented to the Secretary the present tourism programs of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, particularly its pioneering pandemic recovery programs, essential infrastructure and product developments, the updated Ilocos Norte tourism masterplan, as well as marketing and promotion initiatives.
Meanwhile, Mx. Raquel highlighted the recent accomplishments of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office, particularly their efforts in making Ilocos Norte the first and only province to receive the safe travel stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council, the multi-million funded Tourism Livelihood Continuity Program, the development of new tourist attractions such as the Paoay Lake Water Park and art installations at the Paoay Sand Dunes, and their participation at the Philippine Travel Mart, where the province recorded at least P 9.5 million in potential sales.
Additionally, Gov. Marcos Manotoc introduced some upcoming local events, particularly the reopening of the Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium and the comeback of the “Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals” next year.
INTO likewise consulted with Sec. Garcia Frasco and Undersecretaries Ferdinand C. Jumapao and Verna Esmeralda Buensuceso in prioritizing several tourism development projects which were submitted by the office previously.
Under the leadership of Gov. Marcos Manotoc, new programs and partnerships to position Ilocos Norte among the premiere tourist destinations in the country remain a priority of his administration since the livelihood of thousands of Ilokanos relies on the tourism industry. －Edison Justin B. Deus and Jasper Christian Bartolome, PGIN-CMO