Clark-Baguio Synergy-A A +A
Check and Balance
Sunday, September 1, 2013
“CLARK is now the airport of the North.”
Clark International Airport Corporation President and CEO Victor Jose I. Luciano thus emphasized to travel operators, hotel and restaurant operators and tourism stakeholders during the twin presentations – at the Rose Bowl and upscale Azalea Residences -- he made at the Summer Capital last Friday.
With the upcoming flights of the Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways next month, the roadshow presentations were timely considering that most Middle Eastern and European tourists had been frequenting Baguio City, according to the Department of Tourism-Cordillera Administrative Region.
The Arab tourists are frequent visitors in Baguio City where they enjoy the drizzle during the rainy season. When you experience only sand storms all your life, experiencing rain in the tropical setting will be a sight to behold. I remember one time when I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, it rained in the afternoon, prompting the people to go out and witness the specter that is not unusual to me. Well, we were in the middle of the desert and it rained hard – it was a rare occurrence in the Desert Kingdom.
Luciano drumbeats for the Clark-Baguio synergy – something that is beneficial to both areas considering their shared past as colonial outposts of the Americans. With the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) nearing completion, travel time from Angeles City to Baguio City will be shortened to three hours or less from the usual 4 hours. I got a glimpse of the TPLEX on our way to the Summer Capital and I believe the Consunji Group will soon complete the vital road project.
Will the TPLEX kill the old McArthur Highway? What will happen to the businesses in Rosales, Carmen and so on? The new road project will have an effect on McArthur Highway the same thing that happened to the old Route 66 of the US with the advent of Interstates Highway.
The old McArthur Highway will still be there and it will not cease to operate. The TPLEX, the SCTEX and the improved NLEX will further improve the viability of the Clark airport which posted over 1.3 million passengers last year.
“What will happen to Clark airport will affect our lives,” said Dir. Purificacion S. Suanding-Molintas of the DOT-CAR. “The investments going on in Clark are good for us and the country. We have an opportunity that is in store for us.” Dir. Molintas urged the travel trade segment to be pro-active in the face of the vibrant developments in the Clark airport and the Clark Freeport Zone.
“Clark is the airport of the North,” Luciano reiterated. “The situation of the Manila airport as it is now, the congestion... I think that is changing now Manila congestion is unnecessary to them (passengers).”
The City Government of Baguio headed by Mayor Mauricio Domogan, along with the travel and tour operators and hotel and restaurant operators, has vowed to support the development of Clark airport.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 02, 2013.