Subic Bay tourism events surge

Tourism and sports events in the first quarter drew unprecedented record crowds at the Subic Bay Freeport.

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Subic Bay once again proved itself as a tourist magnet, as total visitor arrivals here rose by 12 percent for the first quarter, as against last year.

In particular, there was a noticeable upsurge in the number of participants in Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibits (MICE) and other tourism-related events, and sports events, which grew by 254 percent and 308 percent, respectively, for the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year.

Statistics from Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) deputy administrator for tourism Raul Marcelo revealed that Subic Bay succeeded in drawing some 72,780 participants in MICE and other tourism-related events, and 21,620 sports enthusiasts from January to March.  In contrast, only 20,569 visitors for MICE and other tourism-related events, and 5,300 sports players were registered for the first quarter of 2012.

“This big increase really goes to show that Subic is living up to its twin title of ‘Premier Convention Capital in Northern Luzon’ and ‘one of the Top Destinations in the country’.  It also validates the fact that Subic has indeed emerged as a favorite venue of sports organizers,” Marcelo said.

The biggest crowd drawer under the MICE and other tourism-related events category was Ayala Malls Harbor Point’s special event featuring the cast of the movie, “Must Be Love”, which pulled in some 10,000 fans.   On the other hand, the biggest sports event for the quarter was the Subic leg of the Philippine National Red Cross Million Volunteer Run “I choose to run to save lives”, which attracted some 9,000 participants last February.

As in other destinations, Marcelo also noted that while visitor arrivals would traditionally peak in summer, as well as during the Christmas and New Year holidays, summer visitor turnout this year had been particularly heavy.  “Vehicular count for the 2013 Holy Week alone, for instance, reached 50,000, bringing in roughly some 200,000 visitors based on a conservative estimate of four passengers per vehicle,” he added.

The said vehicular count, which compared to last year’s Holy Week increased by 25 percent, covered the total number of vehicles that entered Subic Bay Freeport via SCTEx Tipo and also via the other entry points to the Freeport during the period.

In welcoming the bright tourism developments in Subic Bay for the quarter, SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia said, “We look at these increases in our tourism figures as an undeniable sign that people of varied interests and from all walks of life truly enjoy Subic and its many attractions and year-round events, and that we’re on the right track as far as attracting arrivals here is concerned.”

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