17 July 2009

RP’s largest tourism fair to feature Subic attractions

Subic’s iconic theme parks, along with unique tourism packages in this free port, will be highlighted in the 20th installment of the country’s largest and longest-running travel, tourism and trade fair— the Philippine Travel Mart (PTM).

Aptly themed “Beyond the Usual Philippines,” the event organized by the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT) is designed to showcase what is unique to the Philippines.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza, who signed a memorandum of agreement with PHILTOA president Cesar Cruz recently, said the SBMA will also be an official partner of the 20th PTM that will be held on September 4-6 at the Megatrade Halls of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

Cruz said SBMA’s infusion of fresh ideas in developing eco-tourist sites in Subic provides a classic example of what the industry should do to realize the country’s full tourism potentials.

Cruz praised in particular the SBMA’s “hop-on, hop-off” transport scheme, whereby commuting tourists or “backpackers” can now tour the vast expanse of the Subic Bay Freeport onboard double-decker buses plying Subic’s scenic route at regular intervals.

“Subic’s novel hop-on, hop-off scheme can be adopted anywhere in the country,” Cruz said.

Cruz added that the Subic tourist transport system will be featured in tourism seminars during the 20th PTM, which shall also serve as an avenue for tourism stakeholders and students to discuss emerging trends in the industry.

Cruz further praised SBMA, the agency that administers the Subic Bay Freeport, for constantly adding new dimensions to its positioning as a prime nature hub.

Arreza, meanwhile, explained that tourism developments in Subic revolve exactly around what are considered the free port’s jewels— its unspoiled beaches and virgin tropical forests.

“Our top tourist draws — the Treetop Adventure, Jungle Joe’s World, Zoobic Safari, and Ocean Adventure, to name a few, offer unique adventures, which we constantly upgrade by introducing new activities like bird-watching,” said Arreza.

He added that, just recently, Subic Bay has been named by the DOT as one of the country’s official sites for bird-watching, a young but increasingly popular activity among nature lovers.

“We are also introducing the newest fads in adventure tourism, like wind surfing, kite boarding, sailing, and other water sports. Actually, one can do almost anything in Subic,” said Arreza.

For the upcoming travel mart, Arreza announced that a 24-sqm pavilion showcasing the complete set of Subic attractions will be set up by the SBMA.

The Subic Bay Freeport greatly benefits from the annual travel event, which brings in thousands of local and foreign corporate buyers, consumers and other stakeholders in a single venue for travel and tourism.

Arreza said the travel mart has carved a niche in the international market as a prime venue for Philippine tour packages and other tourism products.

“Last year, 50 foreign buyers went straight to Subic right after visiting the travel mart,” he said.

Arreza also said the SBMA has a successful partnership with the PHILTOA, which is the biggest association of tour operators and agencies that exclusively promote domestic and inbound tourism.

Cruz said the PHILTOA expects about 300 foreign buyers to visit this year’s event. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza signs an agreement with Cesar Cruz, president of Philippine Tour Operators Association (Philtoa), making the SBMA an official partner of the 20th Philippine Tourism Mart to be held at the MegaTrade Halls of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City on September 4-6, 2009. The said tourism and trade fair will feature Subic Bay Freeport’s unique attractions.