NORTE: Star Cruises, one of the biggest international cruise ship companies, has made Laoag City one of their cruise home ports the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) here said.
Xavier Ruiz, INTO Operations Officer II, said that Star Cruises has announced that the province is now one of the destinations for their cruise ship Superstar Virgo.
“This is a very good news for our tourism, especially for this upcoming summer season, because they have noticed our province in terms of the cruise industry, which is one of the biggest sub-industries in tourism,” Ruiz said.
The Superstar Virgo is a 13-story vessel that has 935 cabins and can accommodate up to 2,800 passengers
and 1,100 crewmembers.
The cruise ship also houses amenities such as an outdoor swimming pool, 100-meter water slide, bar, gym, salon and spa, duty free shops and karaoke rooms.
Regularly docking at Currimao Port in the province on its way from Manila, the Superstar Virgo will provide passengers the opportunity to visit the historical and cultural landmarks in Ilocos Norte.
“Passengers can visit top tourists destinations in the province including the Bangui Windmills, Burgos Lighthouse, Kapurpurawan rock formation and white beaches of Pagudpud,” Ruiz said.
He said INTO is expecting hundreds or even thousands of passengers to tour around the province for one whole day when the ship calls at Currimao.
“We also expect our local restaurants, local souvenir shops and our local shopping centers to benefit from this new tourism development in the province,” Ruiz said.
The cruise will sail a route including Hong Kong, Manila, Laoag, and Kaohsiung starting March 19 through May 23, which coincides with the Philippine summer.
Meanwhile, INTO recorded 427,819 tourist arrivals in December 2016, which is a 10.77 percent increase compared to the same period in 2015.
Ruiz said the windmills, lighthouse, Paoay Church Complex and the Blue Lagoon Resort in Pagudpud remain the top destinations in the province.
However, visits to the Ferdinand E. Marcos’ Presidential Center in Batac City decreased compared to the same period in 2015 as a result of the former president’s burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“INTO, together with the Presidential Center committee are planning to strategize new attractions to boost arrivals of tourists in Batac this summer,” Ruiz said.