CLARK FREEPORT— This Freeport was recently cited as the biggest contributor to Pampanga’s tourist arrivals for the year 2021. The Department of Tourism (DOT) based the citation on the recently held 2021 Philippine Tourism Satellite Accounts (PTSA) and Tourism Statistics Online Dissemination Forum.
According to the Office of Tourism Development Planning, Research and Information Management (OTDPRIM), Clark recorded 640,353 tourist arrivals in Pampanga for 2021, representing 77.22 percent of total arrivals reported.
Region-wide, this reflects a total contribution of 33.7-percent to Central Luzon, making it one of the top overnight destinations for local tourists last year.
Clark Development Corporation (CDC) Tourism Promotions Division Manager Noemi Julian attributed this increase on the number of local visitors in Clark due to the easing up of health and safety restrictions on local travels, the public acceptance and wide-scale immunization of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots, increased number of physical attendance for hotels and restaurants, and the return of organized sporting events inside this Freeport.
“People are now more confident in travelling to other places, including family outings, reunions, attending face-to-face workshops and seminars, participating in organized sports events and other outdoor activities,” Julian said in a statement.
“In Clark, we offer more than just the usual tourism destinations and activities. We have a number of 5-star hotel accommodations for family staycations, numerous restaurants and coffee shops offering local and international cuisines, different leisure and professional sports venues and facilities for the athletes and sports buffs, water-themed parks, resorts, and a zoo for kids. We also have wide, open and green spaces just to relax and breath-in fresh air,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Clark International Airport has reported a total of 9,964 visitors, equivalent to 6.08-percent which also greatly contributed to the tourist arrivals in the province.
This significantly helped increase domestic tourism with a total of 37,279,282 trips in 2021 compared to the 26,982,233 trips in 2020, posting a 38.16% growth rate.
In Central Luzon alone, Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales ranks first followed by the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) in second place for the Regional Distribution of Overnight Travelers.
Aside from the two Freeport Zones, other provinces in the list of highest contributors and top destinations include Bulacan, Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, and Aurora. Data as of June 3, 2022 also indicates that Pampanga, including the cities of Angeles and San Fernando, takes the fourth spot in the ranking per province released by OTDPRIM.
This evidently shows that the tourism industry in the country is bouncing back from the harsh effects brought about by the pandemic, where Filipinos could finally travel with minimum restrictions and visit other tourism destinations within the country.