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Northern Philippines promoted as next travel destination

By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Aug. 09, 2013 at 12:01am | manilastandardtoday.com
Travel agencies expect Northern Philippines to become the next major tourism destination with the completion of new infrastructure projects in the area.
Philippine Travel Agencies Association president John Paul Cabalza said the Ilocos and Cagayan provinces had not reached their full potentials as prime tourist destinations, even as accessibility and infrastructure in those areas improved over the past several years.
“Northern Philippines have a lot to offer in terms of tourism.  They both have adventure and eco-tourism.  They have some of the most pristine white beaches in the Philippines and the food there are also some of the best in the country,” Cabalza said.
He said Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Cagayan could easily be reached with daily flights or buses operating in the region from Metro Manila.
PTAA recently brought its members on a familiarization tour of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte and would soon move on to Cagayan in cooperation with the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.
The Cagayan Freeport and Ecozone recently joined the travel group and was looking to the association to assist them in reaching its target of 100,000 tourists in 2013, up by 33 percent from visitor arrivals last year.
“Just like what we did for Ilocos, we will also do for the province of Cagayan.  We will take our members there to see the business potential of the province and have them establish networks with local tourism players.  We want to create awareness on the province,” Cabalza said.
Cabalza said some members of the association started bringing travelers to Cagayan.
Cagayan Ecozone was projecting an 80 percent to 20 percent mix in its tourist arrivals, currently dominated by tourists from mainland China because of the gaming facility in the economic zone.
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