With Cebu’s ranking as Best Island Destination rising a notch higher to 7th this year, the tourism sector is already thinking of how to improve the province’s performance next year.
The international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller, raised Cebu’s performance rating a notch higher from 8th place last year.
Tourism stakeholders and the Department of Tourism (DOT) gave their suggestions on how the province can raise its profile in the coming years.
“This is a testimony that affluent travelers feel at home in Cebu,” said Hans Hauri, Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu president.
“It’s our people, it’s the way we are, it’s our foundation of Christianity. Those are distinctive marks. The way to promote Cebu further is our attention to practice our deep-rooted cultural and traditional heritage as well as improvement of our surroundings and systems,” Hauri said.
He also suggested Cebuanos could also institutionalize awards among hotels, resorts, restaurants, tour agencies, tour guides and seaside operators to recognize the best and motivate others.
He said this would encourage them to do better and to practice above standard processes.
“Through HRRAC, the Cebu City Tourism Council (CCTC), Tourism Congress, business and tourism-related associations, chambers of commerce embracing LGUs (local government units) and working together for a common purpose for a common brand that is Cebu. Such focus will drive any numbers,” Hauri said.
Jay Aldeguer, Islands Group president, agreed.
“We have all the tools and resources to make it to the top but this will not happen by chance. We need to get our act together. Strategic planning for Cebu is highly necessary and of course masterful execution. We should also make the most and ride on the country’s economic momentum,” Aldeguer said.
Consul Robert Lim Joseph, National Association of Independent Travel Agencies in the Philippines chairman emeritus, suggested seven steps to do for the industry to become the top destination in the future.
“One, is to develop the product destination such as attraction for children and family. Two, ecological tours. Three, adventure tourism. Four, improving roads and taking out of squatters along tourist destination areas. Five, cleanliness and orderliness especially fronting Waterfront (Cebu City Hotel and Casino) and near Marco Polo (Plaza) Hotel. Six, setting up of the first tax exempted jewelry industry. Seven, allocating nearly promotional budget from the local government to be matched by the Department of Tourism and PAGCOR (Philippine Gaming Corp.) for marketing and promotion,” said Joseph.
Rowena Montecillo, DOT regional director, said there's still room for Cebu to improve and the way to go would be through a public-private partnership.
Montecillo credited Cebu’s proactive private sector for the improved tourism performance.
This year’s Conde Nast Traveller also listed Shangri-la Mactan Island Resort and Spa and the Shangri-la Boracay Island Resort and Spa as among the top 15 resorts in Asia. Shangri-la Mactan was at 12th while Shangri-la Boracay at 17.
According to Conde Nast, 48,476 readers chose the best among 1,306 properties and places around the world. Bali is the magazine’s best island with an 80.4 rating, Luzon was third with a 78.9 rating and Cebu got seventh place with a 75.7 rating. /Aileen Garcia-Yap, Reporter.
Source: Cebu Daily News