VISITOR-READY. Quezon's display during the Green Corridor Initiative (GCI) launch in Malvar, Batangas Saturday (Dec. 18, 2021). The highly-anticipated GCI would link top and "visitor-ready" destinations in the Calabarzon region. (Photo by Joey Razon)

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Saturday launched the highly-anticipated Green Corridor Initiative (GCI) that would link top and "visitor-ready" destinations in the Calabarzon region (4-A).

Five initial tourism circuits in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon were introduced by DOT Region 4-A.

In Cavite, the Metro Tagaytay Tourism Circuit will feature Tagaytay City, Silang, Alfonso, and Maragondon, with a focus on nature, health and wellness, and farm tourism.

Laguna's SaRiLiNa Tourism Circuit, on the other hand, highlights the province's rich ecotourism offers that range from majestic waterfalls, protected forest areas to mineral hot and cold springs. This circuit includes San Pablo, Rizal, Nagcarlan, and Liliw.

Nasugbu, Calatagan, Taal, and San Juan complete the Bayside Tourism Circuit of Batangas, which also centers on nature and adventure but with a spotlight on the province's quaint seaside towns and impeccable dive spots.

Rizal's circuit, meanwhile, seeks to offer tourists faith, food, art, adventure, and nature in one trip. By visiting Antipolo, Angono, Taytay, and Cainta, DOT said visitors would be able to "touch base with nature without losing touch with the finer points of urban living".

The REINA Tourism Circuit of Quezon is more on the adventurous side, with Real, Infanta, and General Nakar promising attractions for almost every kind of traveler be it a nature tripper, adrenaline junkie, or history buff.

In Real alone, visitors can experience river tubing or surf at Tignoan Beach, one of the nearest surfing spots to Metro Manila.

"We really want to help destinations that are ready to receive guests. We are ready that's why we invited local tour operators to craft packages that are affordable to domestic tourists," DOT Calabarzon director Marites Castro said in an interview.

"Ang kaibahan nito sa ibang (Its difference to other) tourism product is it's really a combination that has nature, history, culture, and adventure. Since the tourism circuits that we identified have outdoor destinations, it really is safe for tourists," she added.

From over 61 million in 2019, Calabarzon's same-day arrivals dipped to 12.02 million last year, reflecting the pandemic's dramatic effect on the region's tourism industry.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, for her part, is optimistic the GCI would drive leisure travel and kickstart the region's recovery.

"The DOT is repositioning the Philippines as a safe, fun, and competitive tourism destination following the pandemic. The Provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon are certainly prime examples of exciting destinations that are easily accessible from the National Capital Region," she said.

DOT said all towns identified in the GCI are open for all ages as long as they are vaccinated. (PNA)