Subic Bay is now the fourth most popular tourism destination in the Philippines.
Department of Tourism Region III Director Ronaldo P. Tiotuico announced in a press statement that the Subic Bay Freeport and the rest of Zambales soared to the fourth slot among the top ten destinations throughout the country, bested only by Cebu, Davao and Camarines Sur.
Tiotuico said the Subic Bay Freeport made big strides by hosting some 1.67 million domestic and foreign visitors in 2015, thus marking a 28-percent increase in the number of visitors from 1.265 million in 2014.
The DOT official also cited the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) as instrumental in developing Subic as a major tourist destination in Central Luzon.
“Such a success is attributed to the collective determination of the entire manpower complement of the SBMA under the leadership of Chairman Roberto Garcia,” Tiotuico said.
SBMA Chairman Garcia welcomed the development, pointing out that Subic gained significant attention after it was first recognized by the DOT as the number one tourist destination in Central Luzon in 2013.
“This only validates Subic’s attractiveness not only as top tourist destination, but also as the convention capital of Central Luzon – titles bestowed upon Subic by the DOT,” Garcia said.
Mary Jamelle Camba, SBMA Tourism Department manager, said Subic has become a favorite location for watersports tourism and nature-related activities.
She also said the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) has become a prominent venue for international events and conferences as it has a capacity of 10,000 seats.
Camba added that the Subic Bay Freeport can now accommodate a bigger number of visitors, as it currently boasts of 44 hotels with a total of 3,244 rooms.
The SBMA Tourism Department recently participated in the Asia Cruise Destination Forum in Jeju, South Korea to promote Subic Bay to the world tourism community as an emerging pivotal hub for international cruise tourism.
In the same statement, Tiotuico made a fearless forecast that Subic may just become the number one destination in the future, as the full transformation of Clark International Airport as a major hub for both international and domestic airlines may also benefit Subic tourism.
“Subic is just a 45-minute drive from Clark. DOT Region III has always recommended the partnering of Clark and Subic as one great holistic destination, the two being connected by a world-class seamless freeway called SCTEx,” Tiotuico explained.
Tiotuico also described Subic Bay as a well-preserved eco-tourism destination, with triple-canopied rainforests and mangroves, mountain trails and indigenous culture, nature-based theme parks and bird-watching sites.
Among the rest of the top ten destinations in 2015 were Boracay, Albay/Legazpi City, Metro Manila, Clark/Pampanga, Laguna and Benguet/Baguio City. (RBB/MPD-SBMA)