SPORTS TOURISM AWARDS. The 5th Sports Tourism Awards led by its founder and chair Charles Lim (extreme right) was held at Quest Plus Conference Center, Clark Freeport, Pampanga on Tuesday (Dec. 6, 2022). Also in photo (right to left) during the awarding were Cebu Pacific Social Corporate Responsibility Specialist Roxanne Gochuico, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas representative Array Perez, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, CDC president Agnes Devanadera, Quest Hotel general manager Michael Gapin and DOT 3 Regional Director Carolina Uy. (Photo by Marna Del Rosario)

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga – Key players in the sports tourism industry were cited on Tuesday by the Philippine Sports Tourism Awards (PSTA) for their efforts in sustaining local and international events amid the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Quest Hotel Clark were among the outstanding contributors to the fast-growing sports tourism industry that were recognized at the 5th Philippine Sports Tourism Awards held at Quest Plus Conference Center, this freeport zone.

The CDC was awarded as the Sports Tourism Destination of the Year for staying true to its mission of transforming Clark into a premier tourism destination and for being the epicenter for multiple sporting events from triathlon to motor racing.

The CDC has been an important catalyst in allowing Clark to become the must-experience destination for sports tourism.

On the other hand, the Sports Tourism Hotel of the Year was awarded to Quest Plus Hotel Clark for delivering top-class hospitality services to hundreds of basketball game officials, players, and trainers during the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and FIBA Asian Cup Qualifiers Bubbles during the pandemic.

The PSTA is given to government and business enterprises that enhance the economic growth of local communities through synergizing tourism and sports.

Its five categories are: Sports Tourism Hotel of the Year, Sports Tourism Tournament of the Year, National Sports Association of the Year, Airline of the Year, and Sports Tourism Destination of the Year.

Meanwhile, the Sports Tourism Tournament of the Year 2020 went to the Philippine Cup during the 45th Season of the PBA Presidents Cup.

Despite the pandemic, the PBA was enabled to organize thrilling and entertaining basketball through the now iconic "PBA Bubble."

For the National Sports Association of the Year, the Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SP) was awarded for pursuing every means and effort to hold domestic and international tournaments to uplift the spirit of basketball fans through bubble management.

It made possible the holding of events such as the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers where teams from South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia competed with the Philippines in Clark amid the pandemic in 2021.

The Airline of the Year was awarded to Cebu Pacific for providing to all Filipino Olympians and Paralympians free roundtrip flights at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. CEB gifted 19 Philippine Olympians and six Paralympians with free flights.

Cebu Pacific also provided 25 Philippine athletes with 26 free flights to celebrate the airline's 25 years of allowing "every Juan" to fly.

Although a scaled-down event, the awardees of the 5th Philippine Sports Tourism Awards are given this prestigious honor for being key players in the Sports Tourism Industry in 2021.

"We will not let this opportunity pass in not honoring the men and women, players and officials who have made sacrifices to keep sports tourism alive during the pandemic. Without any doubt, there are many more we would like to recognize but 2020 and 2021 were challenging times,” PSTA founder and chair Charles Lim said during the event. (PNA)