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Marcos says Ilocos Norte will be key Philippine tourism hub

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday said the government remains committed to strengthen the domestic tourism industry pushing for his home province Ilocos Norte as a key tourism hub in the country.

During his speech at the “Tan-ok ni Ilocano 2023: The Festival of Festivals,” Marcos said uplifting the country’s domestic tourism industry remained a top priority of his administration.

“I assure you the government’s commitment to strengthen the domestic tourism industry remains a top priority and llocos Norte will play a very large part of that. The number of visitor arrivals has recovered. It is my hope that by working together we restore Ilocos’ vibrancy tourism to pre-pandemic levels and beyond,” Marcos said.

“The darkest hours of the pandemic we pray are over and now we are ready to reclaim time and opportunities we have lost for the past few years as we now emerge stronger than ever,” he added.

He said the government remains open for “fresh and innovative” ideas that will help propel the tourism sector in the future.

“Let us hope that you will respond to this administration’s call for participation in the rewarding but challenging tasks ahead. Let our spirit be a blaze with unity and may the Almighty bless us to our journey towards a brighter and better llocos for the present and future generations,” the President said.

Marcos said this year’s festival was even more special since it was held in the newly renovated Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. Memorial Stadium in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

“Named after my father, the stadium speaks well of the strength, brilliance, and resilience of every Ilocano. I’m certain that my father is now watching us proudly and to see how far we are as a people,” he said.

“I feel in my bones that we all share the same blood and patriotism that allow us to achieve these things together. On this note, my sincerest gratitude goes to all people behind the stadium rehabilitation. Indeed, this facility will become an iconic landmark that will  not only showcase a design excellence but also project our shared aspirations,” he added.

This year’s “Tan-ok ni Ilocano” or “The Greatness of Ilocano,” highlighted the 205th founding anniversary of Ilocos Norte through several performances and art forms featuring the province’s history, tradition, heritage and culture.

The President said the festival will stimulate economic activity and support Ilocano families by driving the tourism industry and sustaining local livelihoods.

He said the event will also showcase the talent and skills of the local artists and small scale local workers, adding that it will serve as a gateway to rich and dynamic culture.

“I thus encourage our next generation of Ilocano artists, be proud of your identity, and integrate our rich customs and traditions into the art that you showcase,” he said.

“Let us share to our fellow Filipinos and the rest of the world the story of our roots, upland indigenous communities, and the vibrant communities of Ilocos which mold us into what we are as a people today,” he added.—LDF, GMA Integrated News