ASIDE from the task of attracting investors to Cebu, the Cebu Investment Promotions Center (CIPC) has expanded its role to include acting as the city’s tourism promotion council.

CIPC managing director Joel Mari Yu said this directive was given recently by the city government to further boost the tourism industry of Cebu.

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“We will actually deal with planning strategies and actual promotions for the city,” Yu said Thursday.

He said the CIPC won’t have difficulty taking on the additional role, as the City Council appointed Councilor Margot Osmeña, someone Yu has known for a long time, as the committee chairperson for tourism planning and promotions.

Yu said they will still meet with the tourism stakeholders to come up with a tourism roadmap for Cebu.

“We still need to talk as to which aspects of tourism we need to prioritize,” he said.

However, if asked, Yu said, he will push for a massive “clean-up” initiative for the city. This means massive cleaning in the city streets, including the eradication of beggars and street vendors on the sidewalks.

“In short, we will be creating pockets of beauty in the city,” he said.

The concept of pockets of beauty is meant to improve and clean up the city sidewalks to create an atmosphere of confidence and safety for tourists roaming around the city.

Yu singled out sidewalk vendors who, he said, should be regulated and relocated.

“I don’t have anything against sidewalk vendors. It is just that they should be regulated. There should be areas in the city where there should be no sidewalk vendors,” he said.

Yu said the proposal will first be implemented along P. del Rosario St. up to Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City, and then along Salinas Drive up to Nivel Hills.

Pockets of beauty

“There is a difference between the concept of pockets of beauty in developed and developing countries. In developed countries, we can see ‘a sea of beauty with pockets of ugliness,’ while in developing countries, we can see ‘a sea of ugliness with pockets of beauty.’ So we will increase the number of pockets of beauty until we can no longer see the sea of ugliness,” he said.

Cebu’s tourist volume was recorded at 734,531 in the first five months of the year, up 4.34 percent from the same period last year.

These accounted for 20 percent of the total tourist volume in the 13 major destinations in the country, according to the Department of Tourism. Korea and Japan were the leading sources of tourists for Cebu.

However, Cebu ranked only second in tourist volume.

Manila was the leading destination with a share of 23.3 percent or 848,518 tourists from January to May.