Central Luzon promotes new, emerging tourist destinations

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Central Luzon is set to be in every traveler’s bucket list with the addition of new and emerging tourist destinations around the region.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Carolina Uy shared that one of the trends that emerged during the pandemic is the patronage of tourists for wide and open spaces like farms, eco-tourism sites, and glamping sites.

“We [DOT] really prepared for these tourism destinations in our region in anticipation of the country’s reopening to domestic and international inbound travelers. We have already conducted site validation in some of these sites,” she said.

Among the sites that offer unique experience for the tourists, Uy said, are the beaches in Zambales which offer a combination of surfing and glamping; as well as eco resorts in Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Tarlac which offer a mix of farm and glamping.

“If you are wondering what it feels like to go glamping in the middle of a cacao farm or rice paddy, you should definitely visit Central Luzon. We have many sites here that are suitable whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, or with your family and friends,” she said.

For those who want to enjoy peace and serenity, Uy recommended taking beach trips to Zambales, citing that people love to visit there not because of its noisy bars, high end resort amenities, or fine dining restaurants, but because of its stillness, quietness, and warmth.

However, for those who love adventure, she suggested mountain top resorts in Bataan; as well as hiking and trekking in the mountains of Bataan, Zambales, and Nueva Ecija.

For family travelers, the director recommended visiting theme parks inside the Clark and Subic Bay Freeport Zones since this is a good exposure for kids and animal lovers.

Meanwhile, Uy shared that the agency is also eyeing a World War II Historical Tour where cyclists and motor bike riders will get the chance to explore historical sites and landmarks in Central Luzon

DOT is also set to launch the ‘Travel, Breathe, and Dive’ package in Aurora, which is a first-of-its kind that combines diving and wellness.

Uy assured that despite these emerging sites, they have been coordinating with the local government units in determining the carrying capacity in every tourist destination to ensure the safety of tourists amid the new normal.

“We believe that gone are the days of mass tourism. We must protect and conserve our eco-tourism sites, biodiversity, and forest reserves. At the same time, we must observe at all times the health and safety protocols of these destinations,” she said.

Uy added that they have a team that oversees monitoring and enforcement to make sure that tourism-related establishments like restaurants, hotels, and MICE facilities; as well as public places like tourist transport services strictly adhere to at least the basic health and safety protocols.

In Central Luzon, she also shared that all tourism workers, including tricycle drivers and those who work in wellness and spa, are 100 percent fully vaccinated, and about 87 percent already received booster shots against Covid-19.