Sunday, June 12, 2005

Subic, Clark next Asian tourism hub

The Subic-Clark economic growth corridor will soon be transformed into Asia’s next commercial and tourism hub in Asia, according to Patrick C. Gregorio, Tourism Director General of the Subic-Clark Alliance Development (SCAD) Corp., the new corporate entity that will handle the development of the Central Luzon boom area.

"By enabling infrastructure development in Subic, Clark and their surrounding areas, we will have a new economic center that will not only compete with Metro Manila, but also with the best cities in Asia in attracting investors and travelers who can help the Philippine economy in the race towards industrialization," he explained.

Gregorio, who is president of Waterfront Hotels and Casinos in Cebu City, is also the founding chairman of the private sector-led Cebu Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The new Tourism Director General said he wants to share his expertise in the tourism industry and focus his management skills, which he has acquired from running the Waterfront hotels, on establishing SCAD Corp. as a model government corporation, with crucial role in economic development.

As a corporate arm of the two former American military bases, SCAD Corp. will enable Subic and Clark to synchronize efforts in developing a regional logistics hub that will result in the complementation and sharing of resources, infrastructure and facilities between the two zones thereby propelling economic growth in Central Luzon.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo envisions the Subic-Clark area as a regional economic center, in the mold of Hong Kong and Dubai.

In January 2003, the president approved the creation of the P31.25-billion SCAD Corp. upon the joint recommendation of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

SCAD Corp. will manage various infrastructure projects such as the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, and the Subic Bay port.

In particular, DMIA is being eyed as the country’s next premier international gateway and Asian regional center for express freight operations, logistics and warehousing, and a major aircraft heavy maintenance base. Once completed by 2006, the DMIA expansion project can service up to 3.5 million passengers annually.

As the director general of SCAD Corp., Gregorio will coordinate with SBMA chairman and SCAD presidential adviser Francisco Licuanan III and CDC chair and former DTI Secretary Rizalino Navarro in the development of Subic and Clark.

Before he joined the government, Gregorio was among those considered by the president to be the next secretary of the Department of Tourism.

A veteran of 17 years in the tourism industry, Gregorio started as a junior sales executive at the Philippine Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVC) at the age of 17. From there, he worked in various tourism establishments and worked his way to the top of one of the most prestigious hotel chains in Cebu and Davao

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