This was the assurance of Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco during the 1st North Luzon Travel Fair held at the SMX Convention Center in Clark over the weekend, as she trumpeted the country’s readiness for the arrivals of tourists and investors.
“Driven by the zest of urgency, we cannot wait to open the Philippines as one day more to wait, is one day more to lose. The message of the Department of Tourism as led of course by President Marcos is that tourism is a priority, a priority under this administration with intent to leave no region behind in the development of the industry,” Frasco said during the event.
In particular, the DOT is now ramping up efforts to market North Luzon destinations to Filipino travelers and foreign tourists, especially with the recent opening of the new Clark International Airport.
The modern airport has been eyed to become a preferred gateway in the country’s capital region and to have increased connectivity to other main air hubs like Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
With the overarching theme “Weaving our Way to Recovery,” the recent travel event came in time as the country moves to usher the tourism industry forward.
“The Philippines is open; the Philippines is ready to receive tourists and investments from all over the world, and North Luzon is ready to lead the way and light up the Northern Philippines,” said Frasco as she addressed the jam-packed crowd at the travel fair, which showcased the country’s domestic tourism destinations, regional crafts and products, and services.
Frasco said North Luzon logged 3.8 million visitors from both domestic and foreign tourists as of Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.
“And while recently we have reopened our country to international travel, I can see that we are well on our way to recovery because you are well on our way to the 9.6 million arrivals that you had in this side of the country prior to the pandemic,” she said.
The tourism chief also cited the need to continuously improve the enabling mechanisms of coming into and going around the country.
“We will ensure the institutional development of the entire industry by introducing changes, addressing gaps and most importantly, by listening to the needs of the stakeholders,” she noted.
She further emphasized the crucial role of the various stakeholders in the tourism industry who have continued to shine amid the recent challenges from the pandemic.
The Philippines has recently been cited as the highly coveted world’s leading dive destination and the leading beach destination for 2022. (CSL)