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DOT eyes on Pagudpud tourism’s sustainability

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is keen on working together with local government units (LGU) in planning the development of the northernmost tip of Luzon.

Tourism Undersecretary for Public Affairs and Advocacy Katherine de Castro disclosed the department’s plans to work hand in hand with LGUs to look at the ongoing construction boom in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte and to manage its rapid development.

Speaking at a hotel inauguration in Balaoi, two hours away from Laoag, de Castro noticed how progressive Pagudpud has become in such a short span of time. “It is time to do something about it to avoid congestion,” she said, citing Boracay and Puerto Galera as cases in point.

De Castro said it is Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo’s directive to spread out the tourism spotlight across the Philippines. “We are a country of 7,107 islands. It is about time we explore other undiscovered and uncharted destinations as well. It is about time they get the rightful attention and opportunity,” de Castro said.

“Our unique mandate in tourism requires us to strike a balance between selling destination and safeguarding our natural wonders for generations to come. Sustainability remains a key principle. That is to say, the demand is only as good as the product,” Teo was quoted saying.

In the latest data from the DOT Region I, the Ilocos region received an estimated 1.7 million international tourists last year, 12 percent up from arrivals in 2015. In December of last year alone, close to a thousand air arrivals were registered in Laoag, which is 0.17 percent of the total air arrivals to the country that month. It foresees growth to double by yearend as new chartered flights from China started arriving in the latter part of 2016. Additionally, the region expects multiple ports call in Currimao from Star Cruises in March to May of this year to bring in more than 4,000 guests onboard each dock, in addition to other international cruise lines scheduled to arrive this year.