Laoag City, Ilocos Norte: A huge influx of tourists is expected here, with about 700,000 Chinese tourists set to visit the province as the country hosts the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) 2017. Governor Imee Marcos said the expected influx of tourists is in connection with 2017 as China’s “Visit Asean Year.” The Laoag International Airport in Barangay Gabu is ready to welcome the tourists being the frontline agency for the event, LIA Manager Ronald Estabillo said. Estabillo added that about 350,000 will pass through the airport. Ilocos Norte is one of the identified venues of the event to take place at Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Resort. Ilocos Norte has recorded increased arrivals of tourists since 2011 that include Asians, Europeans and Americans aside from domestic tourists. In 2016, more than 400,000 day tourists spent Holy Week in Ilocos Norte, topping the 232,678 recorded in 2015, according to Tourism Officer Aianree Raquel. She said the surge of tourists during the holidays meant a 91.24 percent increase compared to 2015.
Thom F. Picaña