September to be tourism month

BUDGET. Cebu City Tourism Council chairperson Tetta Baad says they were given P16 million budget by the Cebu City Council to pursue tourism projects. (SUN.STAR FILE)

SEPTEMBER will be declared Cebu Tourism Month by the Cebu City Tourism Council (CCTC).

The organization is also set to launch next week Lakbay Lingaw (Fun Travel) a new tourism campaign aimed to reinvigorate Cebu City’s tourism sector to become an engine of growth, said Tetta Baad, chairperson of the CCTC.

Visit Philippines Year 2015 aims to refresh the Philippine tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” The campaign banners five themes: business meetings; history and culture; lifestyle and entertainment; music and the arts; sports, adventure, and eco-tourism.

The Lakbay Lingaw, according to Baad, is one of the activities to watch out for this year, on top of the annual Sinulog Festival held every January.

Baad told reporters that this new project is a holistic tourism campaign that aims to promote shopping, historic and cultural and eco-adventure activities in Cebu actively participated by all tourism stakeholders both in the private and public sectors.

Baad said the council was given P16 million budget by the Cebu City Council to pursue
its tourism projects.

More growth

According to Baad, the continued growth of tourism arrivals since the past years is an indication that Cebu can still push for more growth, although it needs upgrade to become a more compelling destination to both local and foreign tourists.

“Bohol, Palawan and Camarines Sur are doing a lot to promote their respective destinations and if we don’t come up with coordinated efforts and fail to align our directions we will lose our spot as prime tourism destination,” said Baad, at the sidelines of the launching of the Balik Cebu Booth yesterday.

Under the campaign, Cebu will hold a shopping festival by September where tourists and consumers will get to enjoy better bargains similar to the United States’ Black Friday Sale. Baad said they will coordinate with tour operators, Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), airlines and other transport services to offer good discounts.

“In effect, Lakbay Lingaw would become a festival and one huge package of bargains,” Baad said, adding that they picked the month of September because it is a lean month for retail and accommodation.

Similarly, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) declared Sept. 27 as the World Tourism Day, a global observance to highlight tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value.

Baad said they plan to recognize outstanding institutions that have been innovative and creative in the field of tourism during the month.

CCTC will also coordinate with the Cebu Provincial Tourism Council to tie up the activity with the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo activities, especially that there are new tourism attractions in Samboan, Malabuyoc and Oslob now included in the travel itinerary.

Other new destinations under development are the Cebu Highlands. Baad said they will coordinate with the barangay captains to mount eco-tourism trails to facilitate the eco-adventure activities.

Road stop

On top of that, CCTC will also develop a road stop in the area which will have native-inspired and uniform stalls that would house stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic lechon, sweet corn, flowers and native delicacies.

The road stop, she added, will have a picnic area, parking slots and restrooms that fits the required standards of the Department of Tourism (DOT).

The budget approved by the council will also facilitate restoration and enhancement of the historic district which include the toilet upgrade in Fort San Pedro.

CCTC will ask the Cebu City Council to pass an ordinance to institutionalize Lakbay Lingaw and make it a yearly activity.
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