Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Drive Tourism: Saving Lives, Saving Costs and Saving the Planet

Come January 29 to February 2, 2014, the SBMA’s Subic Bay Exhibition & Convention Center will be the place to be for auto and travel enthusiasts as the first Asia Pacific Drive Tourism Conference, Auto and Travel Show, a first of its kind in the country, unfolds. Presented by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), the National Auto Club and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), this five-day confab and expo will serve as the market launch of the DOT’s Drive Tourism program, in coordination with AAP, which aims to consolidate the components of all tourism-oriented road and driving activities.
Subic Bay Exhibition & Convention Center
Subic Bay Exhibition & Convention Center
(photo courtesy of www.mysubicbay.com)
Drive Tourism is a homeland appreciating activity whereby individuals or group hit the road in their motor vehicles to explore the myriad attractions of their own country. 

The AAP has been undertaking caravans in various provinces to boost domestic tourism and provide income opportunities in the countryside. 

For a complete travel experience, explore the Philippines’ countryside charm and cultural gems through driving.  However, unlike the usual seat-in-coach tours, participants here are allowed to tailor fit itineraries based on their preferences, such as culture and heritage, water sports or culinary adventure.
At a recent presscon held at Fely J’s in Greenbelt, Makati, former DOT Secretary Dr. Guillermina “”Mina” T. Gabor, AAP Director and president of the International School of Sustainable Tourism; and Mr. Benito “Bong” C. Bengzon, Jr., DOT Asst. Secretary (Market Development Group); briefed members of the media on the program and activities for the said conference.
AAP Caravan in Nagcarlan (Laguna)AAP Caravan in Nagcarlan (Laguna)
Mr. Jean Todt
Mr. Jean Todt (photo: Wikipedia)
Keynoting the event are Tourism Secretary Mr. Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. and French motor sport executive Mr. Jean Todt, the president of the Paris-based Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world’s largest group of car clubs and motor sports associations (with over 200 member organizations in 132 countries). 

With the theme, “Saving Lives, Saving Costs, and Saving the Planet”, the event is supportive of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 which aims to save 5 million lives and prevent 50 million road injuries worldwide.
According to Secretary Jimenez, “Drive Tourism is where participants move through a tourism highway or road network that allows them to see diverse attractions on the road and experience the local way of life.” He added that the pioneering event will include presentations on the latest innovations in the automobile industry, road safety, mobility, motorsports, travel and tourism from both local and international specialists during the conference and exhibition. Secretary Jimenez also said that AAP has been undertaking caravans in various provinces to boost domestic tourism and provide income opportunities in the countryside.
AAP Caravan at the Manila East Road in Rizal
Caravan on the road
Other invited speakers at the said conference are the transport ministers of Sri Lanka, Malaysia and New Zealand; Mr. Mengha Raj Poudyal (Advisor – Nepal Automobile Sports Association); the tourism ministers of Maldives (Mr. Ahmad Adeeb Abdul Gafoor), Palau (Mr. Fleming Umiich Sengebau), Bhutan (Mr. Thuji Dorji Nadik)and Thailand (Mr. Pongsathorn Kessasamli); Automobile Association of Upper India president Mr. T.K. Malhotra;  FIA Region 2 president Mr. Ross Heron, Ms. Nana Soetantri (Transport Specialist - Asian Development Bank) and Mr. Peter O’Neill of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
Caravan participants at Bangui Wind FarmCaravan participants at Bangui Wind Farm in Ilocos Norte
The Conference will also see the groundbreaking of the Subic Children’s Road Safety Park, which will serve as an educational stage to teach the culture of road safety and discipline among children. The first of its kind in the country, it will serve as the model of similar projects envisioned to be set up in every region.
Scenic roads in the countryside
A road to adventure
This event is presented in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) with AAP Travel and the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) as organizers.
AAP Board of Directors
AAP Board of Directors
Right after the conference proper is the Auto and Travel Show which will run from January 31 to February 2.  

It will feature super deals in automobiles, accessories, tour packages, travel essentials, Filipino regional cuisine and recreational activities at the Children’s Fun Plaza Rides. 

On February 1, there will also be the first Dream Car Parade which will feature vintage, classic and modern automobiles with car enthusiast and celebrity Mr. Willie Revillame in attendance. Admission is free for both events.
For conference or show details, log on to www.aaptravel.com/drivetourism, call 551-0025, 551-0014 or like Drive Tourism on Facebook.
Subic Bay Exhibition & Convention Center: Efficiency St., Subic Bay Gateway Park, 2222, Subic Freeport Zone, Zambales.  Tel: (047) 252 4149

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