MAKATI CITY — In support of the country’s hosting of the highly anticipated FIBA International Basketball Federation World Cup 2023, the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched Philippine tour packages for international fans and Filipinos on Tuesday (July 25) at the DOT Office in Makati City.
“We see the FIBA Basketball World Cup as an opportunity, first and foremost, to reintroduce the Philippines to the world on the strength of our natural cultural assets, our award-winning destinations, our emerging cities and municipalities all over the Philippines, as well as an opportunity for Filipinos to come together to support the Philippine team, and for other citizens of the world to remember their sense of nationalism as they support their own countries. Truly, basketball has had such a great cultural impact on all of us Filipinos and all nations participating, that we see this as an opportunity to remind the world how much there is to love about the Philippines, and an opportunity to show the Philippines is ready, and the Philippines is open for tourism,” DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco announced at the FIBA Philippine tour launch.
The Philippines will co-host the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 group phase with Japan and Indonesia from August 25-30. The Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City; Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City; and the 50,000-capacity Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan will house 52 out of the 92 games. The final phase of the World Cup scheduled for September 5-10 will be played as well at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Among the potential NBA stars to play in Manila are Nikola Jokic of Serbia, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Dominican Republic. Top-tier national teams such as the USA, New Zealand, Jordan, Greece, Mexico, Montenegro, Lithuania, Egypt, China, Serbia, Puerto Rico, and South Sudan are set to compete in the Philippines, accompanied by their thousands of fans and supporters.
To complement the FIBA World Cup experience, the DOT teamed up with a tourism consortium of national tourism associations to meticulously craft tour packages that showcase marquee destinations such as those in Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, La Union and Pampanga, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo and Bacolod, Boracay, Palawan, and Davao.
Secretary Frasco rallied together the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), the Hotel Sales and Marketing Professionals (HSMA), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) to form the tourism consortium and curate the said tour packages for the organizers, officials, players, and fans of the game.
“I share in all of your excitement for the FIBA Basketball World Cup as we also see this as a prime opportunity for the country to exceed that goal that we have set this year of ushering 4.8 million international travelers. Not only this will benefit our international tourism portfolio, but also our domestic tourism portfolio with all of these tour packages having been laid down from one region to the other…As you can see, putting all of these together has become a whole-of-tourism industry approach. Very much reflective of our President’s whole of nation approach towards Philippine development,” the tourism chief enthused.
Visitors can book and avail of the FIBA-exclusive tour packages with options of 3 days and 2 nights or 4 days and 3 nights’ arrangements at four- or five-star hotels through the DOT website – www.discoverphilippines.travel starting August 1 up to September 30.
Included in the FIBA tour packages are the Philippines Hop On, Hop Off bus tours, accredited hotel and accommodation options, and travel packages with and without airfare.
No less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. fully supports the country’s hosting endeavor through Administrative Order No. 5 issued last March forming the Inter-Agency Task Force directing all government agencies to aid the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the national basketball association, in the conduct of the FIBA flagship event in the country.
“We recognize the profound impact that sports tourism can have on our economy, our hotels, accommodations, and most importantly, our tourism workers, whose livelihoods highly depend on the tourism industry’s success,” the DOT Secretary added.
Secretary Frasco also extended her appreciation to the DOT’s infrastructure arm, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for the airport enhancements and the construction of Tourist Rest Areas with seven, located in FIBA tour destinations, to be inaugurated this August.
Other efforts of the Department in support of the FIBA hosting include assistance in airport reception during the airport reception services during the FIBA World Cup Draw and other FIBA activities, domestic and international promotion of the event, safety, and security with the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOPCOP) program and the Filipino Brand of Service Excellence (FBSE) Training, as well as strategic FIBA branding site enhancements.
During the launch, Ms. Claudia Perrine from the FIBA Basketball World Cup Local Organizing Committee provided insights into the country’s preparations for hosting the tournament, unveiled the lineup of FIBA World Cup events, and highlighted the goal of breaking the World Cup attendance record.
Additionally, representatives from the DOT FIBA Tour Packages tourism consortium elaborated on the crafted tour packages.
Bob Zozobrado, President of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP), shared the collaborative efforts behind the creation of the consortium and the thought process that led to the development of the FIBA Philippine tour packages. Margie Munsayac, representing the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association (HSMA) International Inc., discussed the range of accommodation options and competitive rates available for visitors. Maria Paz Alberto, President of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Philippines, presented the selected tour packages, while Marlene Insigne also from PATA and Carlota Casas from the Philippine Tour Operators Association, Inc. (PHILTOA) shared on the inclusion of ten cluster destinations in the tour packages. Wendel Santos, President of Atlantis, elaborated on the online booking platform specifically designed for FIBA tours.
Previously, Tourism Secretary Frasco pledged the Department’s utmost support to the SBP, PLDT, and Smart group during the FIBA luncheon which gathered the diplomatic community with some 20 ambassadors and consuls last July 12.