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Sports Tourism: Are we ready for SEAGames?

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SUBIC BAY and Clark should capitalize to the maximum their joint hosting of the Southeast Asian Games to promote tourism in their respective zones through this golden sports opportunity later this year.

This was stated by veteran tourism consultant, Charles Lim who is also founder and chairman of the Philippine Sports Tourism Awards (PSTA).

“The national government through the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has brought the Games to our shores. Philippine South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsgoc) is doing their job in preparing to host the Games successfully, particularly in readying the facilities, managing the games, technical logistics and accommodating and feeding the athletes and officials from eleven countries,” said Lim.

“From every country we must target at least a few hundred tourists. Assuming there will be 5,000 athletes and let’s hope there will be 3 family members, sports fans or friends, you should have 15,000 sports tourists visiting you. We need at least another 5,000 rooms to accommodate the supporters and fans,” he predicted.

Lim also warned and urged the local tourism sector, particularly hotels, airlines and transportation companies to take the initiatives to promote the games in every ASEAN country and not wait for Philsgoc to approach them to make bookings.

“Philsgoc has their hands full in organizing the games. The private sector should now do its part in promoting the games to the public here and abroad,” Lim emphasized.

He noted, however, the lateness in marketing the games a vital responsibility of Philsgoc. The travel and tourism sector can then ride on its marketing efforts to package its own tours with hotel accommodation, games tickets and transportation to and from venue.

He hopes that there is still a room inventory in both Subic and Clark and to look beyond the gates to Angeles, Olongapo, San Fernando, Subic town and other nearby cities to accommodate the expected influx.

“It’s entire up to the industry. If you wish to be known as a sports destination, you have to the run the extra mile and be determined. This SEAGames will not come around until another 20 years if no ASEAN country will opt not to host,” Lim added.

The Philippines last hosted the SEAGames in 2005.

He is optimistic that both Clark and Subic will be ready not only for the athletes but for the thousands more who will come as sports tourists.

The PSTA named Subic Bay as Sports Destination of the Year for 2017 while in 2015 Clark Freeport won the inception award.

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