The ongoing Southeast Asian Games is a big proof of sports being a very important factor in our country’s efforts to increase our visitor arrivals.
This regional event has brought in close to 7,000 athletes, sports officials, their friends and families to our shores. Imagine the revenues we earn from this, and the multiplier effect of its financial benefits, not to mention the prestige it brings, to keep our heads up high!
Any international sports event, regardless of size, which the country hosts, is a big plus to our tourism efforts and to our coffers. This is why I am very happy to know of one individual who had the initiative, since three years ago, to see to it that international sports events keep on coming, even if they involve less than a thousand athletes.
I have known Charles Lim since he managed the Silk Air office in my hometown, Cebu City. He was a very active airline manager and was easily loved by the travel agents in that city. Although a Singaporean by origin, he made Cebu City his home and got involved with many travel events in and around the area. He was even Tourism Commissioner for some time.
I commend him for taking the initiative to reward establishments and organizations that promote sports tourism in our country. With this move, more entities are now aware that international sports events can, indeed, be a significant contributor to our tourism efforts.
This year, Charles put together his third Sports Tourism Awards, and chose the newly opened Grand Wing of Resorts World Manila as the venue. Of course, the place was packed with various personalities in the tourism industry involved with sports tourism in our country.
Leading the list of outstanding awardees were Davao City, for Destination Marketing of the Year, for hosting Iron Man Philippines; Marco Polo Plaza in Cebu City, as Hotel of the Year, for hosting four sports events that attracted approximately 4,000 participants; Resorts World Manila, for Charity Event of the Year, with its Run With Me event which collected a total of P3.5 million for charity; Clark Freeport, as Destination of the Year, for hosting 200–plus sports events.
Other winners were Dumaguete City, Organizer of the Year (Government); Philippine Airlines, as Airline of the Year, for continuously hosting its very popular golf tournament; Ceres-Negros Football Club, as Sports Association of the Year; and Cebu Pacific Air, for Adventure Event of the Year because of its well–attended Juan for Fun.
There were other significant winners: Cebu City, for Event of the Year because of its hosting of the Philippine National Games; Subic Bay, for International Event of the Year, as it hosted Iron Man International; Bacolod City’s Panaad Park and Stadium, as Sports Venue of the Year; AAP for its FIA Conference, which was chosen for the M.I.C.E. Event of the Year Award.
An award was also given to Sun Life for its SunPiology, chosen as Event Sponsorship of the Year; and to Sunrise Events Inc., which was the runaway winner for Organizer of the Year (Private).
Charles Lim announced during the evening festivities, which also featured aerial acrobats for entertainment, that there will be more categories in next year’s awards which can only mean additional sports events in our country, resulting in more tourist arrivals.
YOUR WEEKEND CHUCKLE
JERRY SEINFELD: If I were an Olympic athlete, I’d rather come in last than win the silver. You win the gold, you feel good. You win the bronze and you think “At least, I got something.” But you win the silver, it’s like “Congratulations, you ALMOST won! Of all the losers, you came in first. You’re the number one loser! No one lost ahead of you!
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