22 January 2014

Tourism confab set

EXPLORE THE Philippines' countryside charm and cultural gems through driving at the first Asia Pacific Drive Tourism Conference, Auto and Travel Show scheduled at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center on Jan. 29 to Feb. 2.

A first of its kind in the country, the five-day confab and expo is presented by the Department of Tourism (DoT) and Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), the National Auto Club and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Keynoting the event are Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. and Jean Todt, president of the Paris-based Federation Internationale d'Automobile (FIA), the world's largest group of car clubs and motorsports associations with over 200 member organizations in 132 countries.

Other invited speakers are the transport ministers of Sri Lanka, Malaysia and New Zealand, and the tourism ministers of Nepal, Maldives, Palau, Bhutan and Thailand, Automobile Association of Upper India President TK Malhotra and flA Region 2 President Ross Heron, as well as representatives from the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

The conference will serve as the market launch of the DoT's Drive Tourism program in coordination with AAP which aims to consolidate the components of all tourism-oriented road and driving activities.

"Drive Tourism is where participants move through a tourism highway or road network that allows them to see diverse attractions on the road and experience the local way of life," says Secretary Jimenez.

He added that the pioneering event will include presentations on the latest innovations in the automobile industry, road safety, mobility, motorsports, travel and tourism from both local and international specialists during the conference and exhibition.

He said that AAP has been undertaking caravans in various provinces to boost domestic tourism and provide income opportunities in the countryside.

Unlike seat-in-coach tours; allows participants to tailor fit itineraries based on their preferences, such as culture and heritage, water sports or culinary adventure for a complete travel experience.

The conference will also see the groundbreaking of the Subic Children's Road Safety Park, which will serve as an educational stage to teach the culture of road safety and discipline among children.

The first of its kind in the country, it will serve as the model of similar projects envisioned to be set up in every region.

With the theme, "Saving Lives, Saving Costs, and Saving the Planet," the event supports the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 with the objective to save five million lives and prevent 50 million road injuries.

After the conference proper, the Auto and Travel Show runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 which will feature super deals in automobiles, accessories, tour packages, travel essentials, Filipino regional cuisine and recreational activities at the Children's Fun plaza rides.

For more information, visit www.aaptraveI.com/drivetourism or call 5510025, 5510014. (BusinessWorld)