HEEDING the call of tourism industry stakeholders to have a seamless transportation of tourists to key destinations in the province, the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 has coordinated with government agencies to enhance sea transportation within Cebu.
“We have started our exploratory talks about having more water vessel transportation in the province with the Cebu Port Authority and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina). They are interested about this but we are still on the initial stages,” said DOT 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano.
Tamano said his office is bringing the appeal of tourism stakeholders to concerned government agencies to immediately address the challenges faced by the sector such as traffic congestion.
“What we have now is access to nearby provincial islands. What we want is for Cebu province to also have connections to its own destinations,” he said.
Tamano earlier said a water transport system could be an alternative route tourists could take from Mactan to the north and south of Cebu.
“They (tourists) should not be stuck in traffic or have difficulty getting to their desired destination,” said Tamano.
He said mounting routes through fastcrafts from Mactan to the north like Bantayan, Camotes and Malapascua islands, and from Mactan to the south like Oslob, Badian and Sumilon will help cut the travel time of tourists, giving them more time to enjoy these destinations.
“We have already been talking to some firms. But to start a missionary route, there should be incentives,” said Tamano, adding that incentives should be given by the Department of Transportation or Marina.
Besides having water vessels to ferry tourists, tourism stakeholders in Cebu are also calling on the government to fix the docking areas in the province.
Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists president Alice Queblatin said there are resorts in Mactan willing to invest in water taxis, but their plans cannot take off unless the government starts fixing the docking areas.
Queblatin said existing water taxis in Mactan are having difficulty docking because of limited space. She said water taxis have to wait 45 minutes before their passengers can disembark. (KOC)