CEBU was ranked third best island in Asia recently by New York-based travel magazine Travel + Leisure.

It followed Bali, which ranked first, and Maldives.

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Cebu’s ranking in the Asia’s best island list in the World Best Award for 2010 is higher than last year’s when it ranked fourth place.

Cebu got a rating of 87.5 points, eight points up from last year’s 79.68 points.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia welcomed the news and said this could not have come at a better time, given the celebration of the Province’s 441st founding anniversary.

She said Cebu's inclusion in the list was significant and rewarding because the Provincial Government has been promoting the component towns and cities and Cebu was recognized as an island-province in the magazine.

She acknowledged the local government units (LGUs) that participated in the Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures (e-Gwen) project.

It is a five-year project that awards LGUs based on cleanliness, sanitation and health; greening, protection and enhancement of the environment; creativity, artistry and aesthetic impact; and promotion and nurturing culture and heritage.

She said with continuous effort, Cebu could hopefully get to the top of the list.

Travel + Leisure magazine recently released the results of the survey, which covers hotels, airlines, cruises, islands and cities all over the world.

Phineas Alburo, Department of Tourism undersecretary, said the good news proves Cebu has a lot to be proud of.

He noted the magazine is a prestigious American publication.

Samuel Chioson, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the ranking should be a challenge to do more.

He said a lot can still be done to improve infrastructure.

Rey Calooy, president of the Filipino Cebuano Business Club, said Cebu should improve its peace and order situation to make the island more enticing for tourists.

Calooy stressed the need for more police visibility.

The governor said promoters of Cebu should do more.

“I have been telling our travel operators to go beyond the branding of Cebu being the Queen City of the South. I would like to consider Cebu as the Philippines’ Top Island Destination,” the governor said.

“We will continue to push that bar of excellence. Good enough is not good enough,” she added.

In the survey, respondents were asked to rate the islands based on their natural attractions, activities and sights, restaurant and food, people and value.

The questionnaires were developed by editors of the magazine and were posted in the magazine’s website.

Respondents were screened and responses from any identified travel-industry professionals were eliminated from the final tally.