THERE should be more flights to bring more tourists to Cebu, a hotel manager said, even as the tourism department assured that a new law will allow tourism to perform better this year.

“When we go to other countries to promote our hotel, we don’t only promote Imperial but we promote Cebu as well.

So, we hope there will be more direct flights from other countries to Cebu so we can attract more tourists,” said Richie Kang, general manager of Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa during the 888 News Forum yesterday at the Marco Polo hotel.

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Kang said that most of their hotel guests are from Korea, Japan, China, Europe and Russia.

“If there will be more flights, then a lot of tourists from other countries will come and visit Cebu,” he added.

Former tourism undersecretary and now Tourism Senior Adviser Phineas Alburo said concerns regarding tourism improvement in Cebu and the rest of the country will be addressed by the new tourism law.

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The Tourism Act of 2009 provides for the development and integration of tourism concepts, sets standards for the tourism industry and establishes a tourism infrastructure program to make the industry more globally competitive.

“The industry is optimistic but cautious this year. We are hoping for a better performance and more arrivals,” Alburo said.

As of September last year, Cebu regained its position as the most visited destination in the country, with 1.24 million visitors. The tourism department has said the figure represented an increase of 1.8 percent over the arrivals for the same period in 2008.

It credited the “enhanced domestic travel movement” in Cebu to the opening of new destinations and activities, as well as an increase in flights.

Koreans remain the largest group of tourists in Cebu, followed by the Japanese, Americans and Europeans.

New markets

Aside from tourist arrivals, Alburo said the new players in the industry such as hotels have also contributed to a healthy tourism industry in Cebu.

The current 14,000 hotel and resort rooms in Cebu can accommodate an increasing number of local and foreign tourists, he said.

Tourism players also intend to continue tapping new markets, like Russia and India.

“There have been increasing tourist arrivals from Russia and India because of our country’s tropical setting and we are finding ways to make Cebu more accessible to these new markets,” he said.

“We already have direct flights to Mumbai, India and charter flights to China. The new law will surely give us flexibility to access other markets, like Russia,” Alburo added.