World tourism leaders visit Clark

The  Bases  Conversion  and  Development  Authority  (BCDA)  and  its  subsidiary,  the  Clark Development  Corp.  (CDC),  hosted  on  April  23  an  international  delegation  of  travel  industry leaders from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the global body representing the travel and tourism private sector and its industries, in an investment tour of New Clark City and the Clark Freeport Zone.

The investment tour was the final activity for delegates of the 21st World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit held in the Philippines from April 20 to 22, the council’s second major in-person gathering since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Engr. Joshua Bingcang, SVP of BCDA’s Conversion and Development Group, presents investment offerings in New Clark City to delegates of the 21st World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit during their visit to the new Clark International Airport terminal on April 23, 2022. BCDA photo

WTTC  delegates  were  given  presentations  at  the  new  Clark  International  Airport passenger terminal, and tours of the Clark Freeport Zone and New Clark City, where the closing ceremony was held. The new Clark terminal, an airport finalist in the 2021 Prix Versailles Architecture and Design awards, will open up increased travel, business and mobility north of Metro Manila.

Delegates of the 21st World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, Philippine government officials and private sector partners listen to investment offerings at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac corridor during their investment tour of Clark and New Clark City on April 23,2022. BCDA photo

Seeking to showcase developments and attract investments in Clark and New Clark City, the activity  was  organized  by  BCDA,  CDC,  the  Department  of  Tourism  (DoT),  the  Tourism Infrastructure  and  Enterprise  Zone  Authority  (TIEZA),  and  the  Luzon  International  Premiere Airport Development (LIPAD) Corp., BCDA’s operations and maintenance provider for the new Clark terminal.

Clark  and  New  Clark  City  were  the  key  investment  destinations  showcased  for  the  summit attendees,  whose  tour  itinerary  primarily  included  top  Philippine  tourist  attractions  such  as Boracay Island in Aklan and El Nido, Palawan. The BCDA, CDC and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), an affiliate of the BCDA Group, were among the government agencies that presented investment offerings to the delegates.

Atty. Aristotle B. Batuhan, BCDA Officer-in-Charge President and Chief Executive Officer, said the  WTTC  visit came at a perfect time as Clark and New Clark City are playing increasingly critical roles in enabling the local tourism industry and the Philippine economy transition to the new normal.

“The  BCDA  has  always  believed  that  the  vision  for  New  Clark  City  as  a  smart,  resilient, sustainable  and  inclusive  metropolis  of  the  future  deserves  to  be  on  the  world stage. What better  way  to  do  this  than  to  let  international  tourism  leaders  experience  in  person  the excitement  that  is  building  here  in  New  Clark  City.  We  at  the BCDA are thrilled to host our WTTC guests and show them how far we’ve come in making this vision a reality,” Batuhan said.

Batuhan  added,  “Opportunities  for  travel,  sports  tourism  and  strategic  investing  will become even more accessible after New Clark City reopens its doors to the public, and when the new Clark International Airport Terminal begins operations in the coming weeks.”

For  his  part,  CDC  President  and  Chief  Executive  Officer  Manuel  R.  Gaerlan  said,  “We  are delighted  to  welcome  the  World  Travel  and Tourism Council delegates to the Clark Freeport Zone. Their presence provides us with an excellent opportunity to highlight the exciting tourism developments in Clark. At the same time, we hope that their visit to the Freeport will underscore Clark’s  potential  as  a  leading  business  location,  with  its  stable  investment  climate  and world-class facilities and utilities. We look forward to fostering a meaningful partnership with the members of WTTC and usher in more business opportunities and possibilities in Clark.”

Delegates were given a rolling tour of sites of interest in Clark, covering hotels, resorts, tourist sites, luxury and recreational facilities, and corporate offices. CDC continues its rise as a prime tourism and commercial hub outside of Metro Manila, with over 1,100 business locators setting up shop in the freeport.

For the New Clark City leg of the investment tour, the spotlight was also on world-class sports facilities in the rising metropolis, including the Fédération Internationale de Natation’s (FINA)- approved Aquatics Center and the 525-room Athletes’ Village. New Clark City’s sports complex was a centerpiece venue of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

The investment tour wrapped up at the Athletics Stadium, a Class 1 sports facility certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which recently received a highly commended nod from the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in the Completed Buildings – Sport Category.

During  the  closing  ceremony,  delegates  were treated to assorted Kapampangan and Filipino delicacies for a satisfying taste of the local cuisine and culture.