TRAVEL FAIR. Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco (center) leads the opening of the first-ever North Luzon Travel Fair at SMX Convention Center in Clark, Pampanga on Friday (Nov. 18, 2022). The event carries the theme "Weaving our way to Recovery". (Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco on Friday said the tourism industry is on its way to recovery, particularly North Luzon as the country is ready to receive tourists and investors from all over the world.

In her message during the launching of the 1st North Luzon Travel Fair at the SMX Convention Center in Clark, this province, Frasco said tourism is one of the priorities of the present administration with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. laying down the necessary tools to ensure the readiness of the country for the arrivals of tourists and investors.

She said the Chief Executive has issued several orders to further support the growth of domestic tourism, with the latest on the revival of the holiday economics in the country.

“Driven by the zest of urgency, we cannot wait to open the Philippines as one day more to wait, is one day more to lose. The message of the Department of Tourism as led of course by President Marcos is that tourism is a priority, a priority under this administration with intent to leave no region behind in the development of the industry,” Frasco said during the live-streamed event.

She said she is confident that North Luzon is on its way to again having 9.6 million tourist arrivals as it was prior to the pandemic.

As of today, she said foreign and domestic tourists visiting North Luzon have already reached 3.8 million.

“North Luzon is ready to lead the way to light up the northern Philippines,” she said.

Despite the various awards received by the Philippines in terms of tourism such as the highly-coveted world’s leading dive destination and the leading beach destination for 2022, Frasco cited the need to continuously improve the enabling mechanisms of coming into and going around the country.

“We will ensure the institutional development of the entire industry by introducing changes, addressing gaps and most importantly, by listening to the needs of the stakeholders,” she added.

She also cited the important role of the various stakeholders in the tourism industry, who, in spite of the challenges brought by the pandemic, have continued to champion the country.

“You here in North Luzon, in particular, had continued to be the light of the Northern Philippines with indefatigable spirit. I am so proud to be here today to witness the spirit demonstrated by the people of North Luzon. Congratulations on the very first North Luzon Travel Fair,” Frasco said.

With the theme "Weaving our way to Recovery," the first North Luzon Travel Fair is a joint project of the DOT Regions 1, 2, 3 and Cordillera Autonomous Region, in partnership with the Alliance of Travel and Tour Agencies of Pampanga (ATTAP) and with the support of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and Subic Clark Alliance for Development.

The three-day fair showcases domestic tourism destinations, regional crafts and products, and services. (PNA)