THE recovery of Cebu’s tourism industry will depend on the lifting of borders and easing of restrictions, a tourism stakeholder said.
According to Alice Queblatin, president of Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists (Catos), Cebu continues to see minimal travel movement due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Unless people are able to move from one destination to another, no travel or tourism can happen,” she said.
Queblatin, in an online forum hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, bared the realities on the ground by the limited movement of people.
“We are witnessing very limited schedules to select domestic destinations due to local government units’ restrictions,” she said.
On the international front, Queblatin said there are also very limited connections, and until these travel restrictions on leisure foreign tourists will be lifted, the industry will see very little action.
“It is expected to make a recovery only in the third or fourth quarter of 2021,” she said.
Pre-Covid, domestic travel contributed 240 flights per day but as of now, the airport receives only 19 flights per day. From 28 domestic routes, it has gone down to eight.
The global health crisis also reduced the number of domestic tourists coming to Cebu at 22,000 per month from 750,000 domestic arrivals per month.
Moreover, there are only eight airlines currently operating international flights from 18 airlines prior to the pandemic. From 23 international destinations that are connected to Cebu, only seven destinations are currently being serviced by airlines not even on a daily basis.
Foreign guests arriving in Cebu per month also dropped from 400,000 to 8,000.
Queblatin said given these figures, there really is not enough movement to create a recovery and that the availability of a vaccine worldwide will be crucial in boosting the confidence of people to travel again. (JOB)