Ilocos Norte continues to carve its name as the Philippines’ premiere tourism hub after being named as grand winner of the 2023 Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) Pearl Awards on Thursday.
The province also won the best video for tourism promotions – provincial level for its “Lolita is IN!” tourism campaign, featuring a sexagenarian who traveled to Ilocos Norte in search of adventure.
The tourism video presents the natural beauty and culture of the province while highlighting strong family ties, values, and traditions — experiences that made “Lola Lolita’s” journey to Ilocos a joy.
“Our unwavering dedication to promoting Ilocos Norte tourism has earned the province the prestigious award. This recognition is a testament to the entire province’s collective effort in making Ilocos Norte a top destination for travelers,” Xavier Ruiz, the province’s tourism officer-in-charg, said in a statement after receiving the award at the 24th ATOP national convention held in Boracay Island, Aklan province.
Despite having a limited budget, Ilocos Norte provincial treasurer Josephine Calajate, in an interview Friday, said the province’s tourism advertisement has produced optimum results.
“All the hard work, brilliant ideas, and the unity of all tourism stakeholders have paid off. Hurray to the best tourism-oriented province in the Philippines, Ilocos Norte,” she said.
The province received the same award in 2018, and was the second runner-up in 2019, and first runner-up both in 2016 and 2017.
Government records on tourism arrivals showed a significant increase from 800,000 in 2021 to almost three million in 2022.
The province also garnered an estimated PHP8.8 billion in tourism receipts in 2022, which accelerated the recovery of the tourism industry — a major economic powerhouse as it employs thousands, including those in the informal sectors.
ATOP recognizes the best practices of local government units (LGUs) in terms of creating and implementing policy reforms for tourism development. (PNA)