Tourism players welcome call to ‘travel locally’ first

·2 min read

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s call for Filipinos to travel locally to revive the tourism industry boosted the stakeholders’ initiatives as Cebu Province reopens its destinations.

Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists president Alice Queblatin said Duterte’s State of the Nation address was a welcome response to usher domestic tourism in the regions of the country.

“It is a clarion call to support tourism and we welcome the endorsement coming from the President. Cebu has already started the momentum when Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia opened provincial tourism destinations with protocols and guidelines in place,” she told SunStar Cebu.

The Cebu Province is gearing up for the reopening of tourism destinations starting off with the whale shark watching in Oslob town, the first tourism activity to resume operations next week.

Other activities to resume include sightseeing, zipline adventure, parasailing, all-terrain vehicle riding, trekking, mountaineering, spelunking and museum visits.

“As responsible stakeholders, we will move forward to recover with the mindset of ‘health and safety first, tourism second,’” Queblatin said.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address. Duterte said national and local government agencies must harmonize policies to revive the country’s tourism sector which has been severely hit by the pandemic.

“In the same manner, the tourism and recreation industries, which are among the hardest hit by the pandemic, count on our full support. While we slowly try to put the fun back in our local travels, the national government agencies and local government units (LGUs) must harmonize their policies to boost tourism (while) ensuring everyone’s well-being. We enjoin our people to help boost the economy by traveling locally once the necessary systems are in place,” said Duterte on Monday, July 27.

Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu vice president Alfred Reyes said the move would benefit the industry as it takes steps to open up the industry to local tourists.

“The LGUs should work together with uniform policies and protocols so it would attract more tourists,” Reyes said.

He said opening up the tourism industry to other regions may help generate jobs and revive struggling tourism-related businesses.

“Traveling locally based on the President’s speech, at this pandemic, when the economy is down, should be getting support from the neighboring islands. That is where it starts. LGUs should support each other by balancing the economy and health,” he said. (JOB)