CCTC starts preparations for Apec events

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


THE Cebu City Tourism Commission (CCTC) has lined up various tourism programs to boost the city’s tourism competitiveness. It said it has also begun preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit next year.

CCTC commissioner Georgia Felice Rama said in an interview yesterday that the commission has taken seriously the recommendations presented to them by the USAid in terms of improving Cebu’s tourism competitiveness. They are also doubling their efforts to implement tourism development programs in preparation for the Apec Summit.

“For its part, CCTC is focusing on developing its heritage sites as its primary attraction based on the recommendation of the Department of Tourism (DOT)/USAid study led by former DOT secretary Narzalina Lim. The secondary priority is development of the natural sites in the hillyland of Cebu City which offer eco-adventure experiences including river trekking, camping, spelunking, and mountain biking, among others,” CCTC chairperson Tetta Baad said in a statement.

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She said these activities will enhance the city’s appeal to the foreign market, which accounts for 38 percent of local tourism. The domestic market is still the main tourism growth driver for Central Visayas.

Narzalina Lim, USAid project head and president of Asia Pacific Projects, said in her talk during the Tourism and Investment forum last June that Cebu still has a lot to fix in preparation for the Apec hosting in 2015.

A six-man team from the USAid toured key areas in the province namely, Mactan Island, Cebu Transcentral Highway and the Olango-Nalusuan-Hilutungan islands last February and March to examine their tourism products and assess the quality. The team also visited northern Cebu.

To raise competitiveness, Lim said there are issues that should be given “immediate attention.”

As for Mactan sites, Lim said operation and maintenance of monuments and sites must be institutionalized and that there should be specific group in charge to operate and maintain these on a sustainable basis. The study also recommended that a budget should be appropriated and toilets must be upgraded to Asean standards.

“The current condition of these heritage sites should be a concern for Cebuanos because this is one tourism product that the province has a competitive edge,” she said.

Showcase

Lim said Cebu’s hosting of the Apec events next year is a good occasion to showcase the improvements and results of some proposed projects.

Cebu was picked as one of the host destinations for select Apec ministerial meetings.

Cenelyn Manguilimotan, president of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) expects close to 5,000 delegates to arrive in Cebu on August to October next year to attend four Apec meetings—one of senior officials’ meetings (SOMs) and “sectoral ministerial” meetings in transportation, finance, and small and medium enterprises.

“The CCTC is coordinating with the various tourism players to orchestrate and synchronize projects for maximum results,” said Baad.
While the private sector is at the forefront of the development of tourist establishments, Baad said the local government units is also doing it share in raising Cebu’s competitiveness.

She noted that the Cebu City government is now undertaking projects such as road widening, flood control, traffic management, peace and order initiatives and development of new tourist offerings such as the public market in cooperation with the vendors’ cooperative. Baad said the Freedom Park, the former Warwicks Barracks and Carbon market now have parking areas for tourist buses, while other projects include additional parks and heritage museums.

Based on DOT statistics, Central Visayas tourism arrivals in 2013 totaled 3,490,594 representing a growth rate of 19.21 percent from the previous year. Of this, Cebu share comprised of 2,598,250 tourists with growth rate of 16.5 percent compared in 2012.

“From our perspective, the city’s distinct offerings of heritage, shopping, entertainment, fun and festival (Sinulog) complemented by beach, eco-adventure and leisure destinations within the province and nearby islands make Cebu a compelling destination. Cebu is a hub for air and sea transport. With it as base, many other tourist destinations within its ambit are easy to get to for day or short excursions,” Baad said. KOC

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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