Subic Bay Freeport—Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Jonathan D. Tan shared that his confidence that the tourism industry’s full recovery here in the country’s premier Freeport zone remains high.
This statement came as President Ferdinand R. Marcos lifted the public health emergency in the country thru Presidential Proclamation No. 297 effective July 21, 2023.
“This encouraging development provides us with an optimistic outlook of the travel and tourism industry in the country,” Tan said.
Tan was guest speaker at the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) 2023 Luzon Cluster Regional Consultative Forum, where he addressed some 200 members, tourism stakeholders and guests.
Dubbed as “Sustainable Tourism: Leading the Recovery and Profitability of Business Operation in the Post-Pandemic Era,” the said regional consultative meeting, which aims to bring together the government and industry stakeholders to hear concerns and protect stakeholders.
During the meeting, participants and panelists discussed issues, concerns and plans to formulate joint programs ensuing that the interests of the stakeholders will be heard and protected.
In his speech, Tan took pride of the 99% tourist arrivals in 2022, which is relatively higher than 89% in 2019; and as of June 2023, 5.15 million visitor arrivals and 436,000 tourist arrivals have been recorded cumulatively.
“While increasing job generation and tourism patronage has always been our goal for our tourism sector, however, my leadership now is gearing towards holistic development of the Subic Bay, making it a highly competitive and sustainable business and investment hub. This is captured in our new vision for SBMA, which is Subic Bay Freeport is the preferred sustainable investment hub and eco-tourism destination in Asia Pacific by 2030,” Tan added.
He further said that the goal is to improve the investment climate to attract more investors, increase revenue and general more resilient jobs for the residents.
Among the major development plans that will complement and drive the growth of the local tourism are the establishment of public e-vehicle transportations, construction of the corporate center, adoption of a smart city, and sustainability guidelines for the agency and the business locators.
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Meanwhile, he also said bared other plans to revitalize the recovery and profitability of business operations in the Freeport, namely: (1) holding of the Central Luzon Sustainable Tourism Summit on September 2023; (2) revival of cruise tourism by the first quarter of 2024 with the maiden arrival of Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas, as well as the maiden arrival the MSC’s Splendida; (3) economic cooperation on Halal industry to make Subic Bay a Muslim-friendly destination; (4) and rebranding of Subic Bay to align with goals and appeal to new customer segments.
During the same meeting themed “Hopping on Towards Sustainability,” TCP president Roberto Zozobrado acknowledged the SBMA’s continuous support as an associate member and a partner in implementing TCP programs.
Luzon based travel and tourism stakeholders who participated in the forum were comprised of representatives from the following industry: accommodation; travel and tour services; land, air and sea tourist transport services; conventions and exhibition services and suppliers; tourism estate development; and other accredited tourism enterprises coming from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.