MAKATI CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippines has launched a special initiative to align with the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, which the country is co-hosting. Designed to blend sports with tourism, the DOT has introduced bespoke Philippine tour packages, geared towards international and local basketball fans. The unveiling of these packages occurred at the DOT Office in Makati City on July 25.
DOT Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said during the FIBA Philippine tour launch, “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.”
The FIBA World Cup group stage will take place from August 25-30, co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia. The Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, and the 50,000-capacity Philippine Arena in Bocaue will host 52 out of 92 games. The final phase will occur at the Mall of Asia Arena from September 5-10.
Basketball fans can expect to see NBA stars such as Nikola Jokic of Serbia, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Dominican Republic. National teams from the USA, New Zealand, Jordan, Greece, Mexico, Montenegro, Lithuania, Egypt, China, Serbia, Puerto Rico, and South Sudan are set to bring their A-game, flanked by legions of fans and supporters.
In synergy with the World Cup, the DOT has mobilized a tourism consortium of national tourism associations to create tour packages highlighting key destinations like Metro Manila, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, La Union, Pampanga, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo and Bacolod, Boracay, Palawan, and Davao.
Secretary Frasco united the Philippine Tour Operators Association, the Hotel Sales and Marketing Professionals, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, and the Tourism Congress of the Philippines to form the consortium and curate the tour packages.
During the launch, Secretary Frasco elaborated on her enthusiasm for the event, saying, “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.”
Basketball enthusiasts can avail the FIBA-exclusive tour packages, which include 3 days and 2 nights or 4 days and 3 nights’ stay at four- or five-star hotels, from August 1 to September 30 via the DOT website.
Among the highlights of 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.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has lent his full support to the hosting endeavor via Administrative Order No. 5, issued last March, forming the Inter-Agency Task Force to support the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas in the management of the FIBA flagship event.
DOT Secretary added, “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.”
Secretary Frasco also thanked the 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, set to be inaugurated this August.
In addition to crafting tour packages, the DOT has committed to supporting the FIBA hosting through assistance in airport reception services during the FIBA World Cup Draw, domestic and international promotion of the event, safety and security measures, and strategic FIBA branding site enhancements.
The launch event featured a discussion on the tournament’s preparations by the FIBA local organizing committee and the tourism consortium, who also provided insights into the tour packages. The goal of breaking the World Cup attendance record was also highlighted.
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.