THE Cebu City Tourism Council (CCTC) is all set to introduce Lakbay Lingaw this September, in time for Cebu’s hosting of some meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and World Tourism Day.
CCTC Chairperson Tetta Baad told journalists that the committee has conducted a dry run for the eco-adventure tour and nature trails in Cebu’s highlands, a new tourism package soon to be offered to local and foreign tourists under the Lakbay Lingaw tourism program.
“Developments are underway, specifically for the farmers’ market and rest room stop in that area of Barangay Pung-ol Sibugay,” said Baad, referring to a mountain barangay of Cebu City.
Lakbay Lingaw is a holistic tourism campaign that aims to promote shopping; historic and cultural attractions; and eco-adventure activities in Cebu, supported by tourism stakeholders both in the private and public sectors.
She said the committee has already sent a letter for approval by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) so it can establish the structures. Cebuana architect Joy Onozawa will render pro bono services to design these structures using green architecture.
The restroom facility will have three cubicles each for male and female, as well as a lounge that will serve as a reception and tourism information center.
The farmers’ market, on the other hand, will have an overlooking view of Cebu’s mountains. Within that area, an emergency center, storage area for produce and picnic huts are envisioned.
“By September, we will have these structures in place and after that we will develop other adventure type of tours in that area,” said Baad.
Under the campaign, Cebu will hold a shopping festival in September, similar to the popular Black Friday Sale in the United States.
Baad said they have already gotten the support and commitment of tour operators; Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC); airlines and other transport services to offer good discounts during the month.
Similarly, the Cebu Provincial Tourism Council will organize a weekly Suroy-Suroy Sugbo (a 2D/1N tour in the countryside) to complement the month-long tourism celebration.
Likewise, the council plans to mount a version of the Gabii sa Kabilin called Visita sa Kabilin, as an added tour attraction for the month. HRRAC members will also showcase Cebuano delicacies and a fashion show of old Cebuano couture pieces by Philip Rodriguez during the event. (Heritage Night in Cebu is celebrated every last Friday of May, and offers visitors access to participating museums and heritage sites until midnight, for just one all-access ticket.)
The annual Lakbay Lingaw not only coincides with Cebu’s APEC hosting but also with the celebration of the World Tourism Day on Sept. 27, as declared by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). It’s a global observance to highlight tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value.
The launching of the campaign is also timely, Baad said, considering that 2015 is Visit the Philippines Year.
“The Lakbay Lingaw was born because we wanted tourists to come back to Cebu after Sinulog. Plus, the month of September is also a lean month for retail and travel,” she said.
The Cebu City Council has allotted P13 million to CCTC for the council to pursue its tourism projects, which cover research and development, marketing and promotions, and restoration of some historical sites, among others.
From January to April 2015, revenues from tourism activities of international visitors reached P77.14 billion, about 2.8 percent more than what was made in the same months last year, the tourism department reported.