07 March 2012

SBMA bares bold strategy to make Subic top trade & tourism destination

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has bared a five-year strategic plan designed to generate more employment and investment opportunities in this free port.

In his first State of the Freeport Address (SOFA), SBMA chairman and administrator Roberto V. Garcia said that for the next five years, the agency will implement an audacious development program to take advantage of existing opportunities and to maximize Subic’s potentials.

“Until the end of our term in SBMA, in the next five years, we will be working on this very exciting plan, a very ambitious plan that we believe will turn Subic into a place that we will be proud of,” Garcia said.

Among the strategies the SBMA will be implementing under this plan is the development of tourism niche markets, which is envisioned to turn the Subic Freeport into a major tourism destination in the Philippines.

Garcia said the SBMA will also exert all efforts to make Subic the Theme Park Capital of the Philippines, a top sports tourism destination, an eco-tourism attraction, and a cruise ship playground.

Garcia also cited as a good start the arrival in Subic last week of the London-based MV Spirit of Adventure, the first cruise ship to arrive here this year with 378 passengers on board, mostly Europeans.

“Tourism Sec. Robert Jimenez specifically told me that Subic will become a cruise ship destination. And that is true because all of the passengers expressed their happiness in coming here, especially after seeing our rich eco-tourism facilities,” Garcia said.

The SBMA official also said the SBMA will enhance the promotion of maritime businesses here by getting the support of the Department of Transportation and Communications to attract maritime logistics players to come to Subic, maximizing the Vale ore transshipment project, and developing Subic as home base for super yachts.

Garcia’s five-year plan also calls for the development of various residential types for specific markets, such as high-end residences, middle-class housing and workers’ dormitories.

The SBMA will also shift from merely being a landlord to being a developer, Garcia said, saying the agency will develop unutilized and idle properties, and will improve the ease and competitive cost of doing businesses in Subic.

Garcia said the most challenging strategy is the conversion of the Subic Bay International Airport into an integrated family-oriented tourist destination like the Sentosa, a family-oriented resort in Singapore.

“Basically, the idea is to turn the airport into world-class tourism destination with international theme parks, new golf course, duty free shops, hotels and casino entertainment complex among others,” Garcia explained.

“The opportunities that exist today are very tremendous, believe me. And our plan is very bold and very ambitious but with the support of everyone, this plan will come true,” he added.

The SOFA, an annual activity here sponsored by the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC), was attended by Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon, Jr. and city councilors, Zambales Vice-Gov. Ramon Lacbain III, SBFCC officials and members, members of the SBMA Board of Directors, SBMA employees, and officials and workers from various Freeport companies. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto V. Garcia stresses a point during his State of the Freeport Address recently, wherein he unveiled a bold Five-Year Strategic Plan to transform Subic into a thriving maritime, ecotourism and high-tech industrial center.