Tourists from other regions may soon visit Cebu Province

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THE Provincial Tourism Task Force has decided to move forward and allow tourists from other provinces to visit and explore Cebu Province, about six months after the local tourism industry gradually resumed activities despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Visitors, who will merely stay in hotels and resorts, will be asked to present only their room reservations.

Those who wish to experience the various tourism activities will need to register online via booking portal ahead of their trip.

The task force, however, has not set a date yet. It is set to meet next week to finalize the guidelines.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who convened the task force on Feb. 11, said reopening the Province to tourists from other provinces is aimed at boosting the local tourism industry and the provincial economy.

During the meeting, Garcia cited the latest guidance issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on interzonal movement between areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), such as the National Capital Region, and those that are under the more relaxed modified GCQ, such as Cebu.

“Interzonal movement of persons not authorized outside of residences, or non-Apor, between areas placed under GCQ and MGCQ, for any purpose, shall be permitted, subject to reasonable regulations imposed by the LGU concerned, if any,” Garcia said during the meeting.

“So it could be to go visit some relatives here, for business, or more importantly, for tourism,” she added.

She said that all visitors must still comply with the minimum public health standards and submit all requirements to ensure safety from Covid-19 transmission.

The minimum public health standards include proper wearing of masks and full-coverage face shields, frequent hand washing and physical distancing of at least one meter.

Representatives of shipping lines, airline companies and tour operators will be asked to give their suggestions during the task force’s meeting next week.

Tourist destinations in Cebu Province were gradually reopened and establishments resumed activities in late July 2020 based on Garcia’s Executive Order no. 20-A.

As of Feb. 11, records of the Cebu Provincial Tourism Office (CPTO) showed that 257 hotels, restaurants and other tourism establishments across the province have been allowed to reopen.

Provincial Tourism Officer Marti Ybañez, however, said tourism activities picked up only during the holiday season. A slowdown was noted after the holidays.

“Opening up our borders will really help our industry, Gov,” Ybañez said during the meeting.

The Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) earlier sought government help in drawing more tourists to Cebu.

Cebu is considered one of the top tourist destinations in the country and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport the second most important gateway in the Philippines. (ANV)