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DOT eyes Central Luzon as compelling, distinctive tourism destination

Department of Tourism Regional Director Richard Daenos (left) leads the initial launch of the region’s newest tourism brand bannering its official slogan, “Where Endless Stories Begin” at SM City Clark in December 2023. (DOT Region 3)

The surf-worthy waves of Aurora, majestic views of landscape and beaches in Bataan, historical places in Bulacan, stunning mountains of Nueva Ecija, gastronomic quest in Pampanga, outdoor adventures that abound Tarlac, and the island coves of Zambales – surely, visiting Central Luzon is a whole tourism experience.

The region’s tourism sector for 2023 turned out to be vibrant. It has delivered promising results in terms of its domestic performance and foreign arrivals brought by its improved gateway access, whether land routes or air flights.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Richard Daenos disclosed that Central Luzon recorded a total of 2.8 million tourist arrivals, as of the third quarter of 2023.

This comprises about 2.6 million domestic arrivals and 197,837 foreign arrivals which showcase the region as a premier destination for both local and international tourists.

“In tandem with participation in international business missions, travel fairs and expos, the region’s accessibility has increased, with the rising domestic and international flights at the Clark International Airport (CRK),” he said.

In terms of maritime tourism, there is an increase in the arrival of cruise tourists at Subic Bay Freeport Zone, marking a revival and diversification in tourism offerings. 

In addition, Daenos underscored that DOT has successfully accredited 1,204 tourism-related enterprises, surpassing the five percent targeted increase, and achieving a commendable 9.28 percent rise. 

“These underscore the commitment to enhancing the quality of tourism services in the region,” he explained.

In terms of capacity-building, the agency has trained approximately 10,000 stakeholders under the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence (FBSE) program, emphasizing the commitment to enhancing the skills and competencies of tourism industry players. 

Central Luzon, Where Endless Stories Begin

Department of Tourism Regional Director Richard Daenos explains that Tourism Recognition for Enterprises and Stakeholders (TRES) Awards 2023 aims to spotlight those who have gone above and beyond in shaping the tourism landscape and making it a truly memorable experience for all. (PIA 3)

Another significant stride of DOT was the initial launch of its regional tourism brand.

Daenos highlighted that this strategic branding effort aims to position Central Luzon as a compelling and distinctive tourism destination.

“Our regional tourism brand, encapsulated in the compelling frames, ‘Central Luzon, Where Endless Stories Begin’, goes beyond a mere slogan. It is an invitation to explore, discover, and become an integral part of the myriad stories that this remarkable region has to offer,” he stated.

Central Luzon’s tourism sector is not just about places but also of experiences, moments, and the unique tales that unfold every interaction. It invites visitors, and locals alike to be storytellers and protagonists in the narrative of the region’s cultural richness, natural wonders, and dynamic communities.

Daenos further explained that the new branding promotes Central Luzon beyond being a destination, but a vibrant canvas where countless stories come to life. 

“Within the rich and diverse landscape of the region, every experience becomes a stroke in a masterpiece, contributing to the vibrant narrative that defines the region… Join us in creating, sharing, and becoming part of the limitless stories that make our region extraordinary. Central Luzon, where Endless Stories Begin,” he pressed.

DOT TRES Awards 2023 

City of San Fernando Mayor Vilma Caluag (middle) and City Tourism Officer Maria Lourdes Carmella Jade Pangilinan (right) receive the Most Outstanding Community-Based Tourism Program Award during the Tourism Recognition for Enterprises and Stakeholders (TRES) Awards 2023 held at Clark Freeport Zone. The city government took home a total of eight awards.(PIA 3)

The noteworthy treads in Central Luzon’s tourism sector are also due to the efforts of various individuals and stakeholders which helped DOT in its achievements.

To recognize their efforts, the agency staged the Tourism Recognition for Enterprises and Stakeholders (TRES) Awards 2023 at Clark Freeport Zone.

Quest Plus Conference Center – Clark bags a number of recognitions during the TRES Awards 2023 including the Green Champion Award. (DOT Region 3)

Daenos explained that the awards night aims to spotlight those who have gone above and beyond in shaping the tourism landscape and making it a truly memorable experience for all.

“We embark on a new journey to acknowledge the dedication and innovation that defined the essence of our region. As we stand on the face of the future, let us joyfully embrace the unfolding era, together,” he added.

The awards also aim to inspire and challenge its stakeholders to remain committed, driven, and empowered to enhance and elevate the overall tourism experience in the region through their significant contributions.