The emerging tourism sector of the Philippines will be recognized as the Department of Tourism (DOT) takes “road-tripping” to a higher level by developing a niche market for those who love exploring the outdoors by driving
Beginning Jan 29 to February 2, the Philippines is hosting the first Asia-Pacific Drive Tourism at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, in Subic, Zambales, one of the country’s hubs for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions.
The Philippines, with a charming archipelago of 7,107 islands, is punctuated with a scenic network of roads which runs north to south, making driving a vital means in touring the countryside. This home-grown tourist activity called “road-tripping” has gained popularity among adventurous car owners who have ventured into the breadth of the country’s highway system.
The said event is organized by the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), which blazed the trail in drive tourism with its series of organized caravans in the provinces of Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, Subic-Clark, Ilocos Norte and Negros Occidental.
A partner organizer is the Subic-based International School for Sustainable Tourism (ISST) which seeks to develop world-class tourism programs and products which are sustainable to the environment, as well as to the mainstream and community recipients.
A first of its kind in the country, the five-day confab and expo will see the launch of “Drive Tourism” which will consolidate the components of all tourism-oriented road and driving activities.
“Drive Tourism is where participants move through a tourism highway or road network that allows them to see diverse attractions on the road and experience the local way of life,” says DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez.
The pioneering event will feature presentations and demonstrations on automobile products and technologies, road safety, mobility, motorsports, travel and tourism, from both local and international specialists.
Taking part are prestigious global bodies such as the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the Federation Internationale d’Automobile. The FIA is the world’s governing body for Formula One racing and the largest group of car clubs and motorsports associations with over 200 member organizations in 132 countries.
AAP is the sole affiliate of FIA in the Philippines, and has more than 50,000 car owner members across the country.
Subic as PH’s MICE hub
Set at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, the confab will also serve as the springboard for the launch of Subic Bay Freeport as one of the country’s hubs for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).
The former US naval base, a master-planned industrial and tourism enclave, has hosted national and international gatherings, the most prominent of which was the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 1996.
Subic takes pride in its wide array of accommodation and convention facilities, tourism-related establishments, eco-tourism destinations, watersports and recreational activities, urban amenities, and an international airport for chartered flights.
The Freeport is also just an hour away from the Clark International Airport which has existing flights to major cities across Asia.
The Conference will also see the groundbreaking of the Subic Children’s Road Safety Park, which will serve as an educational stage to inculcate the culture of road safety and discipline among school children.
The Park will also be a model for similar projects envisioned to be set up in every region to make driving safer in the country.
Auto and Travel Show
After the conference proper, the Auto and Travel Show runs from January 31 to February 2 which will feature super deals in automobiles, accessories, tour packages, travel essentials, Filipino regional cuisine and family-oriented recreation. The luxury vehicles of car enthusiast celebrity Willie Revillame will also be on display.
Tourism Undersecretary Daniel Corpuz, together with the provincial governors of Central Luzon, will formally open the show. He will be assisted by newly-crowned Miss Tourism International 2013 Angeli Dione Gomez.
Spicing up the event is the first Dream Car Parade around the Freeport on February 1, at 2 p.m. which will showcase over a dozen vintage and classic cars, and over 20 modern automobiles from corporate and individual owners.
Gomez, the country’s newest ambassadors of goodwill, will lead the parade along with a bevy of local charmers.
Admission to the Auto and Travel Show events is free.
For details, log on to www.aaptravel.com/drivetourism, or call (02): 551-0025, 551-0014, or ilke Drive Tourism on Facebook. (DOT/AAP)