With the influx of foreign tourists visiting Ilocos Norte, travel operators said they are in need of more tour guides to assist guests and make their stay memorable in the province.
Angel Lao, former president of the Ilocos Norte Travel and Tours Association and owner of the Travel Ilocandia, said residents who are still looking for employment may consider attending a short course on tour guiding seminar to join the growing tourism industry in the region.
As a ground handler of shore excursions in this northern part of Luzon, Lao said tour guiding is an exciting job with a good pay.
“We are looking for more tour guides as we expect more tourists to visit our province this year,” she said as she observed a shortage of tour guides whenever there are cruise ships that simultaneously dock at the Currimao seaport in Ilocos Norte and at the Salomague port in neighboring Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.
To date, the Department of Tourism records show there are at least 28 accredited tour guides in Ilocos Norte and most of them are active. There are 10 in Ilocos Sur, La Union, 68 and Pangasinan, 63. Almost 50 percent of the tour guides in La Union and Pangasinan however are inactive.
Last January 6, buses of foreign guests arrived in downtown Laoag as they visited various historical landmarks here.
They were ferried by M/S The World, a residential yacht carrying 141 passengers which made it maiden call at the Currimao seaport while the M/V Royal Caribbean also made its comeback at the Salomague Port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.
The tourism department said more cruise ships are expected to hold ocular inspection at the Currimao seaport while the port is being improved for public safety.
“We are expecting more dockings in the future as the Department of Tourism and the national government has pledged their support in developing our ports and making Ilocos Norte one of the main cruise ports in the country,” said Xavier Ruiz, provincial tourism operations officer II of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office.
With the pilot arrival of Superstar Virgo at the Currimao seaport in 2017, Ilocos Norte welcomed a steady stream of international cruise ships which prompted the sustainable development of tourist attractions, local livelihoods, and employment opportunities. (PNA)