DUBAI, UAE – The Aquino administration is developing tourism clusters to attract more expatriates and overseas Filipinos (OFs) to visit the Philippines.
In the UAE recently, the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DoT)-Market Development Group Assistant Secretary Benito Bengzon Jr., said this is among the thrusts of Manila in promoting the country as a world tourism destination.
It was learnt that on Oct. 1, Dubai-based Emirates Airlines (EK), will commence its daily direct flights to the Clark International Airport (the former Diosdado Macapagal International Airport that used to be US’ Clark Air Base), located 80 kilometres northwest of Manila in Pampanga province.
The new gateway is the second in the Philippines for the EK.
It will help decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Metro Manila and will better serve expatriates and OFs whose primary destinations are in Central and Northern Luzon.
Moreover, according to Al Rais Travel marketing manager Rajesh Krishnan, the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign slogan has stirred interest among the Indian nationals in the UAE who are keen on going to the Southeast Asian country’s beaches and enjoy the nightlife.
On the tourism clusters, Bengzon said, “We are developing clusters so people would know that there are other places to go to other than Manila or Metro Manila,” Bengzon said.
Metro Manila is the Philippines’ national capital region consisting of 10 cities and seven towns.
Clark Freeport Zone/Subic Bay Freeport Zone Cluster would be promoted as the sites for jungle trekking and adventure sports.
Clark used to be the US’ Clark Air Base or the Americans military facility while Subic was their ship repair/supply hub-cum-rest and recreation centre until the end of 1992, one year after the late President Corazon C. Aquino, served a letter of termination for the RP-US Military Bases Agreement, following a decision by the Philippine legislators.
A cluster eyed for beachcombers and lovers of water-based activities, it consists of the island provinces of Cebu and Bohol, at very near proximity to each other, in Central Visayas.
Meanwhile, Bengzon reiterated the need for Filipinos all over the world to become tourism ambassadors themselves, to explore and know more of their country.
He commented on The Gulf Today information about an observation of an expatriate resident from the UAE who visited the Philippines and whose Filipino friends took him to the Mall of Asia when he asked them for a popular tourist spot to go to.