SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - This country's premier free port was named as the region's most visited tourist destination for the second time in a row.
Department of Tourism (DoT) regional director Ronaldo Tiotuico personally announced this on Monday as he graced the opening program organized by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in celebration of National Tourism Week.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said the citation validates efforts by the Subic agency and its tourism stakeholders to "bring Subic to the next level".
He said the SBMA has allotted some P800 million for capital expenditures this year. "And a huge chunk of this goes to the repair of service roads and drainage systems, improvement of parks and tourist facilities, as well as the renovation of the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center to make Subic a better place for a better experience", Garcia added.
Tiotuico said that Subic obtained the highest number of local and foreign travelers in the entire Central Luzon region from 2013 to 2014 based on reports submitted by accommodation establishments in all the seven provinces and three economic zones in the region.
Tiotuico, who was the SBMA guest of honor for the Tourism Week launch, congratulated the officers and employees of SBMA for working hard to maintain the status of the Subic Freeport as the best tourist destination.
He also enjoined the SBMA and business locators in Subic to help push for the realization of the 2015 National Tourism Week theme of "One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities".
Reacting to recognition as Central Luzon’s tourism bestseller, Chairman Garcia noted that in just the first eight months of 2015, tourist arrivals in Subic Freeport has already registered at 4.3 million, growing by 30% over the arrivals in the same period last year.
He also said that Subic had also earned the distinction of being "Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon" in 2012, a title that was also bestowed by the DoT.
Garcia added that he is confident that Subic would maintain the lead in attracting more tourists because of the natural and man-made attractions in the free port.
"Subic has everything", said Garcia. "We have nature-themed parks, some of the best hotels, resorts, and malls in this part of the country; the place is accessible by land, sea and air; and of course, we have year-round activities to make tourists want to visit and stay in Subic".
Garcia said that for the National Tourism Week celebration, SBMA has lined up full events like the Tourism Quiz Bee Challenge on Sept. 22; familiarization tour of theme parks every morning of the Tourism Week; and photo exhibits and lecture-discussions on various tourism topics (Sept. 22-23).
Other activities on schedule are bartending and flair-tending competitions (Sept. 23); body painting contest, and street party (Sept. 25); 3rd IBP Fun Run (Sept. 26); and for the culminating event, an outreach program on Sept. 27 at the Subic Gym. (30)
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia (right) and Region 3 Tourism Director Ronaldo Tiotuico visit a jobs fair held on Monday at the Harbor Point Mall in the Subic Bay Freeport as part of the 2015 National Tourism Week celebration. The activity echoes the Tourism Week theme “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities.”