News Feature: Mass tourist arrival seen in north Luzon

DAGUPAN CITY, Sept. 21 — This city’s chief executive could not have said it better when he urged business leaders in North Luzon to prepare themselves for the mass arrival of foreign and local tourists.

The event was the 21st North Luzon Area Business Conference held in the city and Mayor Benjamin Lim was speaking before a gathering of business and political leaders, traders and economists.

The activity, organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry aims to attract investors to north Luzon to spur business there and make the area attractive to investors.

Contrary to claims of some sectors, a local group of businessmen denied that traders are getting ready to leave the city if its leaders cannot solve the problem of floods, especially in the main downtown area.

The Metro-Dagupan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which hosted the event, noted that while the business area gets flooded easily, it is no different from the other low-lying areas in Metro Manila that have to contend with the global effects of climate change, including rise in sea levels.

Mayor Lim said the answer to the current flooding problem is “adaptation,” or the ability to find practical remedies to a regular or seasonal problem.

More than the adaptation to the flooding problem bedevilling commerce, Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez said good governance by officials in a given locality will definitely attract investors, adding that more investments will increase the economic growth of an area.

And hopefully it will, as Pangasinenses and Dagupenos brace themselves for the development of Clark Airport as an international gateway to North Luzon.

Victor Lozano, chief executive officer of Clark Freeport and Economic Zone in Pampanga, said Clark is being developed and expanded to accommodate more tourists and businesses.

Lozano, keynote speaker at the NLABC, pointed out that Clark’s constant expansion both in services and facilities, enabled it to amass more than $3 billion worth of investments.

Add to that the soon-to-be completed Tarlac, Pangasinan and La Union (TPLEX) Expressway which will allow travellers to reach Dagupan in one and a half hours from Clark, Pampanga.

With these developments, local officials and business leaders express confidence in the inevitable influx of tourists in North Luzon.
Tourists will definitely contribute to the economic boom of the area and create the desired jobs, and that is the wish of businessmen. (ANL/VHS-PIA 1 Pangasinan)

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