Starweek Magazine

A clean win

Ralph Fajardo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - When Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2015 kicked off this Feb. 26, at least 40,000 spectators coming not just from the Philippines but also from all over Asia and the Middle East took part in this renowned global tilt to find the most eco-friendly cars that can travel farthest using the least amount of fuel.

This is second consecutive year that the Shell Eco-marathon Asia will be held at the historic Rizal Park in Manila and no less than Sec. Ramon Jimenez Jr. of the Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed enthusiasm for the event – not only for the expected surge in foreign tourist arrivals it would bring but more so for the brand of tourism it would create for the country.

“An event of this magnitude is very important. Many people think of tourism as country-based or counting noses out of every plane that arrives. In reality, it’s much more than that,” stressed Jimenez. According to him, most tourist attractions in the country have something to do with celebrating our storied past but the Shell Eco-marathon Asia is a festival that celebrates our future.

“What it (SEM Asia) presents is the future of almost everything – from transportation, lifestyle and education to our whole attitude towards propulsion and fuel. For Manila to be at the center of that kind of thinking or innovation is important, since it becomes a hub for cutting edge ideas for a technological future in this part of the world,” he adds.

Through this event, Manila, which accounts for 70 percent of tourist arrivals in the country, also becomes part of a centerpiece effort by the DOT to bring in high quality tourism to Philippine shores.

According to Jimenez, along with other ideas introduced this year such as “Madrid Fusion,” which is considered the cutting edge of modern gastronomy, the Shell Eco-marathon Asia also performs that role at a certain level but on a larger scale and covering more countries and more young people than most festivals around the world.

“I see it as an opportunity for the country to boost its reputation and attract quality tourists,” he said, stressing that quality tourists are the kind of influencers that the country needs right now. “When these tourists go back to their respective countries, they will remember Manila as a great place to stay in, full of friendly people.”

When asked why the DOT has decided to support a marathon instead of another form of tourist attraction, Jimenez quickly pointed out its physical contribution to foreign tourist arrivals in the country, noting that this year’s Shell Eco-marathon Asia will have over 120 student-teams and youth-participants coming from 17 countries taking part in the competition.

“Many young people are now being recognized for their contributions in various institutions. What we could probably be welcoming to our country are the world’s future inventors and engineers so that’s an important focus of activity involving the youth. It’s also a unique opportunity for our youth to have a direct participation with the youth from other countries,” he beamed.

Jimenez adds that the Shell Eco-marathon Asia will give local and foreign tourists alike an opportunity to witness a paradigm shift in racing.

“Instead of burning fuels, people also get to witness cutting-edge technologies that aim to make the future cleaner for the succeeding generations,” he said.

The Shell Eco-marathon Asia is a renowned global tilt that brings together youth engineers from all over the region in developing fuel-efficient cars of the future – utilizing an energy mix that includes biofuels such as ethanol, to technologies such as compressed natural gas and gas-to-liquids (GTL), apart from conventional fuels like gasoline and diesel.

As it enters its 30th year globally, the Asia edition expands its reach to the wider Asia Pacific and Middle East regions with new student team entrants. Some of the countries joining the competition this year are Australia, Bangladesh, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

The first time this prestigious regional event was held in Manila was in 2014, during the centennial celebration of Shell companies in the Philippines.

The country has again been tapped to host the event, with a total of 33 teams from 22 schools around the Philippines representing the country this year. A record number of 178 teams from 20 countries is also joining the competition, which ends today.


The Shell Eco-marathon Asia is open to the public. To know more about event and to apply for free registration, visit www.shell.com/ecomarathon.











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