Gusto magsolo! Iloilo’s island district eyes separate tourism authority

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The Iloilo provincial government is eyeing a separate tourism authority to turn the islands in the province’s fifth district into tourism attractions.

Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. said he has met with Carles Mayor Siegfredo Betita to discuss the prospective Northern Iloilo Tourism Authority (NITA).

“We want to prepare the whole Northern Iloilo especially Concepcion which has 17 islands while the town of Carles which has 22 or I think 24 to be real tourist destinations,” Defensor said (

He added they are looking at where to place the hotels and facilities, in the mainland or in the islands.

“Because what some tourists do is to go there for island hopping then go home in the evening,” he said.

He said he is eyeing a possible legislation for the new tourism body for northern Iloilo.

Northern Iloilo’s potential tourism attractions include:
– Gigantes Island, Sicogon Island, Cabugao Gamay Island, and Pawikan Cave in Carles town
– Marbuena Island Resort in Ajuy
– Agho Island, Pan de Azucar, and Sandbar Island Beach Resort in Concepcion

Defensor noted resorts in these islands still lack accommodation facilities.

At the assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP-Iloilo) in Carles, he and the mayors “will be talking very seriously about the tourism in Northern Iloilo, among other things.”

The meeting is scheduled on April 10 to 13.

Earlier, Provincial Tourism Office head Gilbert Marin said the fifth district was the top tourism destination in Iloilo province in 2017.

Marin said it accounted for 40 percent of the 310,878 tourist arrivals.

He said they will organize resort owners in Gigantes Island this summer.