CLARK FREEPORT --- Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco has vowed to support efforts to boost travel and tourism in Clark and other areas in Central Luzon.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) chief made this assurance during a recent meeting with the Clark Technical Working Group (TWG).

“There's much to hope for for Clark, and we in the DOT will continue to support all your efforts to ensure that travel and tourism continues to be a spark of hope for Clark,” Frasco said.

The DOT official acknowledged the concerns and suggestions of various stakeholders during the TWG meeting.

Frasco also assured the attendees in the meeting DOT'ssupport in terms of boosting travel and tourism in Clark and the regions that the Clark International Airport (CRK) serve.

For more flights at Clark airport, Frasco shared updates on the DOT’s recent effort to coordinate with government agencies for the Philippine Visa Reforms Convergence Meeting.

This, following the directive of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for the implementation of the electronic visa system for the Philippines by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Frasco said.

“We hope to be able to inure for the benefit of our stakeholders, the full implementation of the e-visa system by the end of this year,” the DOT secretary said.

She added that the DOT is continuously coordinating with the DFA in terms of lifting the DFA cap of issuance of visas for Chinese nationals to reach the target of two million Chinese tourist arrivals by the end of 2023.

Frasco also shared updates on the DOT’s Philippine Experience: Heritage Culture and Arts Caravan program which intends to give international and domestic tourists an opportunity to get to know the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines.

“We foresee that this specific program will bring in multitudes of tourists to your region, noting that in 2021, this region delivered over two million distribution of domestic and foreign tourists, and that number increased to 3.9 million in 2022,” Frasco said.

She also announced the upcoming launch of the Philippine Experience in Region 1 by July this year; in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in October; in Region 3 by December; and in Region 2 by next year.

“We must understand that what Clark services is also not only the province in the vicinity of Clark, but rather all the other regions that I mentioned,” she said.

Frasco expressed DOT’s intention to support the stakeholders’ marketing efforts by way of inviting them to key international events, the utilization of the soon-to-launch Tourist Lifecycle app, and familiarization tours.

“I'd like to extend this open invitation for your participation in our participation in international expos abroad, noting that we've already participated in 23 while it has not yet been a year yet. So there's massive opportunities for you to market, this region and this airport,” the DOT chief said.

“In addition to that, we are also releasing, middle of this year, a Tourist Lifecycle App, which provides information to all of the regions [in the vicinity of Clark, and including Clark,] and I think the provision of information to our tourists will also bring attention to this region,” she added.

Frasco said DOT is set to repeat by November this year the successful first North Luzon Travel Fair which helped stakeholders from Central and Southern Philippines, composed of DOT regional offices as well as travel and tour operators, to gain familiarization with the tourism offerings available in North Luzon. (RGN)