NCR hubs designed to promote capital to tourists set to be built

THE Department of Tourism (DoT) is set to launch three more hubs this year designed to promote cities in the National Capital Region (NCR) as tourist destinations.

The so-called Hop-On-Hop-Off (HOHO) hubs are “really meant to drive not just international tourism but also domestic tourism. In some countries, it is really domestic tourism that is driving economic growth,” DoT Regional Director of NCR Sharlene Zabala-Batin told BusinessWorld.

“One of our objectives through HOHO is to make Metro Manila a premier destination… most major cities in the world have a HOHO program so we cannot be left behind,” she added.

The Philippines’ most-heavily promoted destinations tend to be beaches, leading travelers to skip the capital and fly off to resorts in the Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan.

The DoT said that the three remaining HOHO hubs that will be launched later in the year will be positioned as Heart, Lifestyle, and Mind Hubs, feeding visitors to San Juan, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Bonifacio Global City, and educational institutions in Quezon City.

On Thursday, the department launched its third HOHO hub, touted as the Entertainment Hub, covering the cities of Pasay and Parañaque.

The launch of the hubs is part of the HOHO Travel by the Hubs tour program that aims to provide tourists with flexible transportation in exploring cities within Metro Manila.

“The program operates through designated hubs, where tourists have the freedom to choose their preferred destination and duration of stay,” the DoT said.

Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina G. Frasco announced on Thursday that the DoT is also working on the launch of layover tours by the second quarter. She said that the DoT is currently working with other National Government agencies as well as with airport authorities which include the Manila International Airport Authority, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration, and the Philippine National Police.

Ms. Frasco said that the layover tours will initially be connected to the Entertainment Hub due to the cities’ proximity to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Last year, the DoT launched the Business and Culture Hubs which attracted 805 participants in the first six months of operations. — Justine Irish D. Tabile