THE Department of Tourism (DOT) launched on Sunday the first ever hop-on hop-off (HOHO) bus tours in the Philippines, a cheap, convenient and hassle-free way to see the top attractions in a particular tourist spot.
Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco, in a speech she delivered during the kick-off of the bus service noted that the bus tour’s pilot launch at the activity area of Ayala Malls Glorietta in Makati marks an exciting time for the tourism industry, as the DOT aims to bring the project to other key destinations around the Philippines.
The Philippines Hop-On Hop-Off seeks to provide tourists–particularly group travelers and fully independent individual travelers (FITs)–with convenience and flexibility on when and how they will tour a destination through a seamless, contactless transport and tour booking system.
“Post-pandemic trends of travel have continued to evolve. People search for experiences that go beyond adventure, fun, and they search for meaning. And that is why the (Philippines) Hop-On Hop-Off tours gives opportunities for our tourists not only to be reminded of the spirit of modernity and innovation that Makati has always been known for, but also to get to know the soul of your city that lies in your hidden gems, in your museums, in the many stops that are covered by this tour that will allow our tourists–domestic and international alike– to get to know the people of Makati, to get to know your rich history, culture, and heritage,“ Frasco said.
“This is an effort that we wish to replicate in all the other areas in Metro Manila [and the Philippines] and this is just the beginning. Under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., he has prioritized tourism development and that means a whole-of-government approach towards the transformation the tourism industry, focusing not only in the promotion of our country, which we are continuing to do vigorously around the world, but also more importantly, to give our country a fighting chance at standing shoulder to shoulder with our ASEAN neighbors, addressing the essential pillars of tourism–infrastructure, connectivity, digitalization, innovation, and all these other essential modes of development that will finally give the Philippines an opportunity to become the tourism powerhouse that it can be,” Frasco added.
She lauded the City of Makati, the DOT’s National Capital Region (NCR) Office, together with private and public tourism stakeholders in Metro Manila for their collective efforts to make the project possible.
Upon full implementation of the Philippines Hop-On Hop-Off in Makati, tourists can take the bus in designated stops within the city to enjoy its best spots and activities following suggested itineraries curated by the DOT-NCR team per stop, with the option to avail of private and guided tours. The HOHO tour will cost around P1,000 per person.
The project, which takes inspiration from world-class hop-on hop-off buses in cities such as Abu Dhabi, Argentina, London, Madrid, New York, Singapore, among others, will feature a dedicated website with all essential information, a reloadable EMV-capable card, and to complete the tourist experience, a mobile app for booking tours, making cashless payments, GPS networked-bus arrival monitoring and video guides, as well as information on hotels, food, and tourism merchants.
Meanwhile, First district Representative Romulo Peña Jr., Peña referred to the project as “a terrific way to experience what NCR has to offer at your own leisure.”