MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is committed to continuously improve the local destinations, promoting them as part of travel in the new normal and developing them in an inclusive and sustainable manner while waiting for the complete vaccinations to achieve the country’s herd immunity.
CBM 2021 Chairman Mr.Michael Cubos
“Many countries have gone to vaccinations and open up their economies and are looking forward to this. Meantime, we are working and taking the opportunity to discover, explore and develop what our own islands can offer,” DOT secretary Bernadette Puyat said in her keynote message during the virtual Tourism Summit on June 24 hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) as part of its major event for the 2021 Cebu Business Month (CBM).
Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Puyat
Puyat bared that this health crisis was a major setback for the country’s tourism industry which had been on a steady rise since 2009 with three million foreign tourists’ arrivals to 8.36M in 2019 but due to the pandemic, tourism experienced a very sharp drop.
The country’s tourism sector generates investments, foreign exchange, employment and social development, Puyat said that because of the pandemic tourism recovery got underway with the reopening of select destinations and create tourism bubbles for green corridors.
Hon. Christina G. Frasco, Mayor of the Municipality of Liloan and President of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (Cebu) delivered an Inspirational Message
She went on that the strategy had another setback when COVID-19 cases rose gain in the NCR+. The Tourism industry has learned its lessons that the short or long-term goal should not merely be to recover but to make the industry better, stronger, more resilient and more sustainable, Puyat added.
According to Puyat that the goal is not to transition in the new normal but to rise above it and aim a better normal. Over the past few months DOT aimed to revive the tourism industry for a big push for a domestic/local tourism.
DOT revealed that in 2019, tourism recorded 110M domestic trips. The market is there but we must first convince potential travel can be safe and convenient, even during the pandemic. “We must do everything to bring forth our recovery through all safe and responsible manner,” Puyat said.
DOT and local government units (LGUs) have issued policies that all tourists, tourism establishments must strictly comply with safety and health protocols confirming to globally accepted health standards.
She said that there is a need for all LGUs to coordinate their protocols to make tourists journey convenient and safe as much as possible.
According to Puyat, the DOT has developed products and marketing programs for Cebu and other parts of Central Visayas that include culinary and food mapping trips; religious pilgrimage, church visits and faith trips; heritage and museum tours.
Other local tourism destinations that are in varied stages of implementation, planning and development include farm tourism and wellness circuits in the region; development and creation of regional meetings, conventions, exhibits (MICE) networks; regional dive development programs including visits in popular dive sites in Moalboal, Panglao, Malapascua, Dauin, Lapulapu, Alegria, Samboam and Santander.
DOT is also developing the Central Visayas eco-tourism loop in the nine protected areas in the region and the development of al fresco taste and tour circuits in the light of dining preferences during the pandemic.
DOT-7 Regional Director Shalimar Tamano
Meanwhile, DOT-7 regional director Shalimar Tamano, in the same forum bared that as of May 2021 the agency has accredited 1,702 establishments and individuals which were given Seal of Safety to conform with minimum public health standards for the use of PH Safe Application.
Tamano said that as member of the task force in the management of OFWs and ROFs, DOT-7 has assisted around 80,000 Filipinos since June 2020 to date in airports and other areas of concern.
Other invited speakers are the following: Mr. Alexander “Xander” G. Lao, Chief Commercial Officer of Cebu Pacific Air; Dr. Bryan Albert Lim, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases Specialist; Mr. Ryan Tan Yu, CEO of Mataverse; Ms. Maria Lester “Marti” Ybanez, Provincial Tourism Officer in the Province of Cebu and 5th District of Cebu Provincial Board Member Hon. Andrei “Red” Duterte.
DOT-7 has also developed policies for the campaign for the use of safety seals certification in all local tourism-related establishments, including hotels and accommodations for them as quarantine and multi-use facilities.
According to Tamano recovery tourism plans in Central Visayas include the revisiting of domestic tourism and its implication to product development in the region and close coordination with all LGUs in the implementation of travel, health and safety protocols.
The following panelists who shared their success stories on Tourism Experience Enhancement are the following: Ms. Cindi K. Chan, Chairman of Lapulapu City Tourism Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission, EVO Nature Camp owner Mr. Edwin Ortiz and Mr. Christian C. Tiongko, COO of Danasan Eco-Adventure Camp.
CBM 2021 Tourism Committee Chairperson Ms. Brigitte Lim.
“We also have rolled out the tourism development guidebook, mentoring and coaching on the formulation of the tourism development plan in the provincial, city and municipal LGUs, having in mind their local competitive advantage of tourism destinations,” Tamano said.