Koreans and Taiwanese composed the majority of the 1.4 million foreign and local tourists who visited Subic and the 900,000 who trooped to Clark in 2015, according to Ronaldo Tiotuico, the regional director of the Department of Tourism in Central Luzon.
The tourists come to the Philippines for weekend casinos and golf courses, Tiotuico said. Subic attracts more tourists than Clark because it is a seaport with natural wonders, theme parks, white beaches and convention facilities that can accommodate up to 9,000 participants, he added.
Clark, a former air force base, also offers casinos and two golf courses and a convention center that can hold 1,000 persons. Outside the base, Angeles City offers culture, heritage houses and food tourism.
Clark will host a bicycle race on July 30 with 600 participants. The cyclists will visit tourists spots inside the base, which is being promoted as a biking hub. There will also be a two-day trade exhibit by bicycle producers and traders at the mall inside the base, Tiotuico said
Other tourist spots near Clark, Tiotuico said, are the Lahar 4x4 trail, the Mt.Pinatubo crater and the Sta. Juliana native village, which attracts 300 tourists a week.
Tourism authorities are anticipating the conversion of Clark International Airport into a dual airport, but the lack of infrastructure and traffic dampens their enthusiasm.
According to Tiotuico, the tourism gains of a dual airport system will spill over to Regions 1 and 2, including the Cordillera.
However, some sectors urged Tiotuico to first develop the rich tourism potential of Central Luzon to serve the expected increase in arrivals.
Some of these potential tourist magnets are the Death March trail dating back to the World War II, beaches, the Mango Festival of Zambales and Aurora, the planting season of Nueva Ecija and its Science City, the war memorial of Bataan, and the Giant Lantern Festival and the Via Crucis of Pampanga.
Lack of tourism information prevents foreign and local tourists from fully experiencing the treasures of these destinations, they said. (Romeo Dizon, The Standard)
Fun-tastic activities in Subic Bay that attracted 1.4 million foreign and local tourists in 2015 (AMD/MPD-SBMA)