September 2, 2007

Koreans eye tourism investment in Ilocos Norte

KOREAN investors from Real Enterprise Corp. (REC), which operates hotels and casinos in Korea, are eyeing possibly tourism investment in the province following their visit on August 26.

Kim Jung Hwan, REC chairman, said the province of Ilocos Norte has a great potential for tourism investment. However, he added that when compared to other provinces, Ilocos Norte needs more development to attract more tourists to come in.

“This place is very beautiful but it is not yet fully developed. This is the first problem here. So we will try to invite more Koreans to come here by doing sort of a promotion package,” Kim said through an interpreter.

After visiting several tourist spots in the province, which included the Pagudpud beaches, Paoay Lake, Nipa Beach Resort, and the Korean-managed golf course in Suba, Paoay, Kim said that they are interested in running a hotel and restaurant, establish a casino and a golf course as recreation for tourists. They also visited the ongoing construction of the multi-million-peso hotel and convention center in Suba where they have yet to study if running a casino in the area would be feasible.

The Koreans said they are considering an area in Pagudpud near the beach as a possible site for the establishment of a golf course to lure more tourist in the municipality, which has a breathtaking view of green, hilly mountains and a long stretch of pristine beaches.

Meanwhile, former Burgos Councilor Joegie Jimenez and newly appointed assistant provincial tourism officer, personally invited the Koreans to visit the province which he coordinated with the Ilocos Norte provincial government and the Department of Tourism Laoag sub-office, headed by senior tourism officer Milagros R. Gonzales.

Jimenez, along with some DOT officials and Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Portia Salenda, SP tourism committee chair, accompanied the Koreans in their tour of the province.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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