CLARK FREEPORT -- The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is working on visa-free tourist arrivals in Subic Freeport, said SBMA chairperson and administrator Wilma Eisma when she met with officers and members of the Pampanga Press Club at Park Inn by Radisson Clark last Tuesday.

Eisma said the visa-free scheme is one of the strategies to attract cruise ship liners to dock in Subic Bay.

“One of the strategies is the visa-free for tourists passing through Subic Freeport and airport. We are currently working with Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, and Office of the President for a possible executive order that will amend the existing one where tourists who come to Subic via the seaport and airport can come visa-free for 14 days provided that they will stay within Subic and contiguous areas,” she said.

The SBMA head expressed optimism that the visa-free proposal for Subic tourists will be granted soon.

“I'm very, very hopeful that it will be granted soon because once it happens, I can guarantee you it might be us refusing tourists,” Eisma said.

She described the cruise ship tourism in Subic as bullish.

“Right now, we have already confirmed 50 cruise ship arrivals for 2019 and we are working for more,” Eisma said.

Another strategy is to sell Subic as the port destination and contiguous areas like Clark as cruise ship tourist stops.

“The first strategy that we did is to ask Zambales, Bataan and Pampanga and CLark to be part of the corridor. So that is the picture for all of us. So cruise ship tourist who arrive in Subic are also taken in Clark. I'm in very close coordination with Noel Manankil of Clark Development Corporation. I am also working with Governor Abet Garcia to sell Bataan and of course the provincial government of Zambales,” Eisma said.