SAYING that the tourism department wants to highlight the island’s beaches, the swimsuit competition of the Miss Universe 2017 pageant will be held in Cebu, an administration official said.
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino confirmed the development after he met with Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo.
Dino and Teo were both in Tacloban yesterday to attend the Eastern Visayas Tourism consultation forum.
“Yes, confirmed na ang sa Cebu (Yes, Cebu’s participation is confirmed),” he said.
The main event will still be in Manila though, Dino said.
Aside from Cebu, communities in Iloilo, Davao and Vigan will also host some pre-pageant events of the Miss Universe 2017, which will held between Jan. 13 and 18 next year, Dino said, quoting Teo.
If that schedule pushes through, the international event will take place just days ahead of the Sinulog celebrations, Cebu’s peak tourist season.
In 1994, when the Philippines last hosted the Miss Universe pageant, competitors also spent some time in Cebu as part of their pre-pageant whirl. A big difference this year is that the reigning Miss Universe, who will turn over her crown in 2017, is the Filipina beauty Pia Wurtzbach.
Dino said the organizers are eyeing two beach resorts in Lapu-Lapu City where the competition can be held. But other places in Cebu with white sand beaches are also being considered.
During his conversation with Teo, Dino said, he suggested to the secretary that candidates be sent to visit other provinces of each region where the pre-pageant activities can be held.
“Why don’t we also bring some candidates to other provinces? Tungaon nato ba. In the Visayas, some of the candidates can also be made to visit Bohol (in Central Visayas), or Samar in Eastern Visayas or Bacolod in Region 6,” Dino explained.
That will give other provinces a chance to be featured in the international scene, he said.
“Bisan dali rana nga exposure but dako kaayo ang impact ana (Even if the exposure is brief, it’s bound to have a big impact),” Dino said.
It costs millions to advertise a place to invite tourists but its being featured in the Miss Universe pageant, which is telecast worldwide, will have a huge impact on local tourism, he said.
“This one is basically for free, they just have to take care of the candidates and the staff. We will just let the resorts host the event,” Dino said.
Dino said Teo is amenable to his suggestions.
But the DOT will have to discuss these plans with the pageant organizers.
Dino also assured that the Office for the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas will work hard to realize what he is proposing.
“We are really pushing for it, our office is pushing hard for the Visayas, not just Cebu,” Dino said.