Department of Tourism Launches Manila Cultural Hub Tours under Philippines Hop-On-Hop-Off Program

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco spearheaded the launch of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) Philippines Hop-On-Hop-Off (HOHO) program in the country’s capital, introducing Manila’s “Cultural Hub” tours on Thursday, July 6. The inauguration ceremony saw the presence of Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna, city officials, and various tourism stakeholders.

Touted as “the country’s first-ever hop-on, hop-off bus tour program,” the Manila Cultural Hub complements Makati’s “Financial Hub,” introduced by Secretary Frasco and tourism industry stakeholders on May 28.

In her address, Secretary Frasco emphasized the program’s role in advancing the country’s tourism offerings, providing convenience and embracing digitalization. “Our President envisions a tourism industry that is able to compete shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors in Asia as well as the rest of the world. And that is why we introduced tourism to the digital age through this Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tours,” she stated.

The HOHO Bus Tours, accessible through an app, allow tourists to curate their experiences and travel at their convenience. Secretary Frasco elaborated on the evolving travel trends and the growing desire for immersive experiences, stating, “Travel trends continue to change, and it is incumbent upon us in the national government and local government to adapt. It is time for us to evolve and to truly understand the necessity of ensuring that we are not left behind in the post-pandemic world.”

Features of the HOHO Manila Cultural Hub

The program aims to reintroduce Manila to both local and foreign tourists by providing opportunities to explore and experience the city’s diverse tourism hubs. With hassle-free, seamless, contactless, and convenient options, the HOHO Bus Tours are poised to play a pivotal role in enhancing the tourism experience in Manila.

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna highlighted the significance of developing the city’s cultural tourism aspect. “Facing the challenges of urban mobility, this will truly maximize any visit in exploring our attractions and experience a Manila that you’ll keep coming back to,” Mayor Lacuna remarked.

The Manila Cultural Hub will have nine stops, including Robinsons Manila, Raja Sulayman, Rizal Park Luneta, National Museum, Malacañang Heritage Tours-City Hall, Escolta, Binondo, and Intramuros.

Commitment from Tourism Stakeholders

During the launch, a certificate of commitment was signed between the City of Manila and leaders of tourism stakeholder associations. This included the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Philippine Travel Agencies Association, Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International, National Association of Independent Travel Agencies, and Positive Exposure, the project integrator and tech-provider for the Philippines HOHO bus project.

The Philippines HOHO features a dedicated website with essential information, a reloadable EMV-capable card, and a mobile app for booking tours, making cashless payments, GPS-networked bus arrival monitoring, and video guides.

With an introductory price starting at Php1,000 per person, the HOHO Manila Cultural Hub tour allows tourists to leisurely explore Manila’s historic and vibrant culturescape, either following curated itineraries or creating their own.

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