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Worldwide SARS scare a boon for RP tourism
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Magtanggol C. Vilar
Date: 2003-06-06
CABANATUAN CITY – SARS, a boon, or a blight for the Philippines?

Well, at least in the case of Philippine tourism, the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) scare has proven to be a boon if one were to look at the gains the industry has notched up lately.

No less than Undersecretary and Presidential Assistant for North Luzon Renato Diaz had told newsmen here that the country lost foreign tourists because of the scare SARS has brought internationally, but the domestic tourism industry had gained instead.

Diaz said Filipinos have opted to tour local tourist destinations as a safety measure against SARS, adding that the Northern Luzon tourist spots had benefited the most from this.

Diaz, whose office is in charge of tourism-oriented activities in North Luzon which covers 22 provinces spanning 80,000 square kilometers of land in Regions 1, 2, 3 and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), had organized three expeditions to further promote tourism in the region, including a four-kilometer-long caravan of 200 vehicles which toured the four regions last February.

His office also joined the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM)-organized exhibit dubbed “Philippine-China Ties That Bind: A Philippine Solo Exhibition” at the Shanghai Exhibition Center in China last March.

Diaz pointed out that the favorite destinations of tourists in North Luzon are:

* The Banaue Rice Terraces that reach to a thousand feet high, considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the UNESCO World Heritage Sites;

* Baguio, the country’s summer capital with over a million visitors annually;

* Clark Special Economic Zone and the Subic Freeport which have major resorts, casinos and golf courses.


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