Infra investments to boost tourism

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014


THE need for heavy investment in infrastructure remains one of the key highlights of the Tourism and Investment Forum slated next month.

Sabino Dapat, tourism and investment promotion committee chair of the Cebu Business Month (CBM) 2014, said tackling the same issue would allow both the government and the private sectors to reassess and determine the progress of Cebu’s tourism infrastructure development, given the tourism projects planned and implemented the past year.

“There has been progress, with the public-private partnership (PPP) in place but again, we need a boost in infrastructure to grow our tourism and other industries,” said Dapat during the 888 News Forum yesterday.

He said the progress of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport is already a welcome development. However, it is not enough.

“It was said that the new airport can accommodate 35 million people but have we ever started thinking about the support infrastructure once these 35 million get out of the new terminal and explore Cebu?”

Dapat described the road facilities going to Cebu’s tourism sites like Camotes, Malapascua and Bantayan as “primitive” and far from being considered “world-class.”

“We need good infrastructure that is not limited to the city, but spans through the countryside--areas where tourism can grow,” he said. “Cebu is the hub of tourism in
the Visayas, so we should be looking at improving the backbone of this industry.”

The Tourism and Investment Forum is one of the event highlights of CBM 2014. Its objective is to create and establish an entity that will promote tourism and investment for Cebu under the umbrella of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, over the long term, engaging all stakeholders in the private industry and government, both local and government units.

The forum is slated on June 19 at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. 

Among the speakers are Tourism Assistant Secretary Alan Cañizal, Department of Tourism 7 Director Rowena Montecillo, Asian Development Bank principal economist Kelly Bird, Philippine program director of the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development Francis Gentoral, and Dr. Volker Steigerwald of the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The committee also mounted a roundtable discussion on the economic development of Cebu and a tourism and investment night on June 20 at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ma. Teresa Chan said the chamber has been intensifying its efforts to help the local government in promoting Cebu to the rest of the world. 

“What we hope to accomplish with all these efforts is to make people aware of the many tourist destinations in Cebu and that these destinations would be known and recognized individually,” Chan said. 

She noted that the chamber has already started branding the different towns of the province through its Turismo sa Sugbo project, such as “Sogod-So Good”.

Cebu has been getting international attention from global travelers. Cebu and the Visayan Islands ranked third place from among the top five islands in Asia, with a rating of 80.4 in the 2013 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice survey.

Cebu and the islands were cited for “having it all” such as shopping and restaurant needs. Comments included praise for having “the friendliest people you will meet anywhere in the world” and having a big nightlife but “not as wild as Phuket.”

Cebu and the Visayan Islands bested Phuket, Thailand with a score of 78.9 and Lombok, Indonesia at 77.8. Bali, Indonesia topped the survey with 83.1 rating followed by Koh Samui, Thailand at 82.8 score.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 28, 2014.

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