DOT launches HOHO bus tours

HOHO TOURS. The Department of Tourism launches the first ever Philippine hop-on hop-off bus tours in Makati City on Sunday (May 28, 2023). The tour will take travelers in a bus to designated stops to enjoy the city’s best spots and activities following suggested itineraries prepared by the DOT-National Capital Region. (Photo courtesy of DOT)

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has launched what it calls a “hop-on hop-off (HOHO) bus tours that would enable travelers to have seamless, contactless transport and tour booking system,” and provide group and individual travelers convenience and flexibility.

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said the bus tour’s pilot launch in Makati City on Sunday marks an “exciting” time for the tourism industry, as the DOT plans to bring the project to other key destinations around the Philippines.

“Post-pandemic travel trends have continued to evolve. People search for experiences that go beyond adventure, fun, and they search for meaning. And that is why the Philippines’ HOHO tours would give opportunities for 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,  your museums, the many stops that are covered by this tour that will allow our tourists – domestic and international alike – to get to know our rich history, culture, and heritage,“ she said.

Frasco said the government would focus on the country’s promotion and address the essential pillars of tourism including infrastructure, connectivity, digitalization and innovation that will turn the country into a tourism powerhouse.

Upon full implementation of the Philippines Hop-On Hop-Off tour system in Makati City, tourists can take the bus in designated stops within the city to enjoy its best spots and activities following suggested itineraries in every stop.

The destinations were curated by the DOT-National Capital Region (NCR) team. The tour will cost around PHP1,000 per person.

The project takes inspiration from world-class hop-on hop-off buses in cities like Abu Dhabi, Argentina, London, Madrid, New York, Singapore, among others. It features a dedicated website with all essential information, a reloadable EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa)-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.

In 2022, the DOT recorded 5.3 million overnight tourists in the NCR, with Makati City ranking third out of 17 local government units with the highest number of overnight arrivals at 969,927 visitors, next only to the cities of Pasay and Parañaque.

Meanwhile, preparations are already underway for the launch of the Philippines HOHO project in the cultural hub of Manila. DOT said both the Makati and Manila hubs will become fully operational after the grand launch in June.