THE Philippine Exporters Confederationa Inc. (Philexport) Cebu is looking for at least a 2,000 square meter (sq.m) area to set up its Craft Village where it will offer exporters spaces to showcase their export-quality products.
This project, according to Philexport Cebu executive director Fred Escalona, will be funded by Philexport with an initial funding of P5 million.
“We are currently doing the groundwork for this project,”
Escalona said they are currently scouting for potential locations for the Craft Village with an area size ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 sq.m, specifically near the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City or in Mandaue City. They eye construction to begin this year.
According to Escalona, a 2,000 sq.m Craft Village will probably house around 30 booths, whose design will be pattered after cottage industries.
Escalona said this tourism retail concept will replace the Tindahang Pinoy, which used to sell export products to the tourism market.
The establishment of the Craft Village stemmed from the recent inclusion of tourism sector under the umbrella of Philexport, the organization that serves as the voice of the country’s export industries like fashion accessories, furniture, food, electronics and home decors, among others.
“Tourism is classified as reverse exports. We earn the foreign exchange here in our own backyard,” said Escalona.
He noted that specific Philexport programs have already been outlined to invigorate the country’s tourism sector, and the creation of the Craft Village is one of them. Escalona said tourism plays a critical role in Cebu’s economy as it brings in huge receipts to the local coffers in forms of shopping and sightseeing, among others.
Moreover, the Craft Village will not only showcase the export quality products manufactured by Cebu-based exporters. It will also dedicate a space where exporters could showcase how their products are made.
“We want this village to contribute to the ‘experiential’ tourism offering of Cebu,” he said.
Besides looking for a potential site, Philexport is also inviting tourism players to bring their products and services in the Craft Village. More importantly, the organization is inviting the industry to become a member of Philexport.
Mina Gabor, Philexport’s new trustee for tourism and chairperson of the National Tourism Development Plan highlighted tourism as an export product.
Gabor defined tourism export as the spending within a country by international tourists for products and services during their leisure and business travels.
“It doesn’t matter what the goods or services are. It doesn’t matter how it is sent. It can be shipped, sent by courier, or carried in personal luggage on a plane. If it is produced domestically and sold to someone from a foreign country, it is an export product,” said Gabor, who was a former tourism secretary.
Among the plans she pointed out to boost tourism exports include the formation of an association of producers; and identification of unique quality, innovative, designed products to sell.
She also suggested the creation of an arts and crafts village in Cebu or Davao.
These programs, according to Gabor, are aimed at capturing the quality and big-spending tourists from South Korea, China, India, the US, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, the UK, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as the long-staying guests from New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, India, US, South Korea snd the Philippines’ overseas Filipinos. KOC