24 September 2009

Subic tourism week focuses on diversity

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) kicked off the celebration of Tourism Week here on Monday with a smorgasbord of events that focus on the highly-diversified natural attractions here, as well as the unique culture of local inhabitants.

The week-long tourism celebration also features events aimed at fostering camaraderie among various tourism stakeholders in this free port, and promoting livelihood opportunities among local residents.

For the official opening of the Tourism Week, SBMA employees and other stakeholders in the local tourism industry gathered in front of the SBMA administration building, where Subic Bay’s iconic double-decker tourist buses and other vehicles duly-festooned with balloons and buntings began a motorcade that made the rounds of the Subic Bay Freeport.

SBMA deputy administrator for tourism Raul Marcelo said the SBMA has also scheduled job fairs, seminars and skills-building programs for hoteliers and restaurant owners, beach cleanups, tree-planting activities, and team-building events throughout the week-long observance.

Special programs like the Subic Bay tourism sports festival, and the Subic Bay familiarization tour that will give visitors glimpses into the unique facets of this former US military base, will also be held, said Marcelo.

“We want to create an awareness that the success of tourism here depends on many factors — caring for the environment, equipping the workforce, forging cooperation between stakeholders, and knowing intimately what Subic Bay has to offer,” he also said.

To give due emphasis to these factors that made Subic a popular tourism attraction, Marcelo said the line-up of events for the Tourism Week has been planned under the theme “Tourism Celebrating Diversity.”

“We are balancing the forward thrust of tourism with environmental and cultural sustainability,” Marcelo said in a briefing here.

“We are saying that this could be attained by tapping the greatest capability of man — the ability to foster social responsibility and forge cooperation to achieve goals,” he added.

The SBMA tourism chief explained that this is the strategy employed by the SBMA that has made Subic Bay a popular destination.

“Tourists are actually people who want to escape from their monotonous surroundings. They go to places that offer something different. The tourism industry, therefore, banks on diversity,” Marcelo said.

“This is the unique facet of Subic Bay; it is a destination with many destinations,” he added, citing this free port’s clean beaches, virgin tropical rainforests, zoos, theme parks, and other man-made facilities catering to audiences of all ages and persuasions.

Marcelo, who joined SBMA and Clark Development Corporation (CDC) officials in promoting the Subic-Clark corridor in Hong Kong last week, said that the Subic Bay tourism week also serves actually as a means to prepare the local tourism establishments “for more opportunities coming their way.”

The Subic Bay Freeport has enjoyed immense popularity as a tourism site where visitors can enjoy the best of both worlds — the raw excitement of forest and marine attractions amid the comfort and luxury of modern hotels and entertainment facilities.

Subic’s accessibility by land, air and sea also makes it an ideal place for vacation, sports events, corporate meetings and conventions, as well as for simple weekend breaks for families. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: Employees of a locator engage in the familiarization tour which is part of the SBMA’s tourism celebration aimed at fostering camaraderie among various tourism stakeholders in this free port, and promoting livelihood opportunities among local residents.