Group to work on plan for Cebu City tourism

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


AS the new chairperson of the Cebu City Tourism Commission, Tetta Baad hopes to make a difference in making tourism the leading economic driver in Cebu.

At the launching if the International Travel Fair, Baad bared plans to bring together stakeholders in Cebu City to come up with a better way to promote it as a tourist destination.

“It will be counterproductive to have different strategies and not one aligned with each other. It becomes fragmented,” she explained.

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She said they will hold a strategic planning session in July and intend to invite the Department of Tourism to become an ex-officio member of the commission.

New destinations

One of the plans for Cebu City is to introduce new destinations that tourists can visit.

This includes the cleanup and redevelopment of Warwick Barracks and Freedom Park. She noted that trips to the market are some of the activities tourists enjoy and that once the area is cleaned up, it could be promoted similarly to the Chatuchak market in Bangkok. She said an area is being cleaned up to accommodate tourist buses and they have received assurances of police presence.

A tour package that she hopes to promote with tour operators is the Paseo sa Kabilin, a heritage tour around downtown Cebu.

She also wants to encourage owners of heritage buildings to take care of their structures and convert these into tourist attractions.

She especially lauded Jimmy Sy of Ho Tong Hardware, who removed the hardware stocks to another location and spent his own money in restoring the old Jesuit House to its former state.

She also said that Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is working with a group to develop the Go Tiao Co building into a Chinese museum that would feature the important role of the Chinese businessmen in turning Cebu into a center of trade.

Baad also has other ideas for two buildings that are still in the proposal stages. She mentioned the idea of turning the Compañia Maritima into a maritime museum and getting shipping companies to contribute. She said the museum could show how the shipping industry was an important part of the lives of the Cebuanos, even before the Spanish came. She added that 85 percent of shipping companies in the country are based in Cebu.

She added that the ground floor could serve as a souvenir shop and outdoor cafe.

She also hopes something could be done about an old structure in Parian near the Yap-Sandiego ancestral house.

Baad lamented the state of some historical buildings that are being torn down to accommodate modern buildings or are falling into disrepair due to neglect, saying that in European cities, such buildings are protected by legislation, allowing owners to change the interiors of the building but requiring them to retain the façade of their buildings.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 07, 2014.

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