WITH billions of pesos lost due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Lapu-Lapu City Government and the tourism stakeholders are mounting a one-day Balik Turismo Travel Fair to attract locals to rediscover Mactan Island while supporting local businesses.
The fair, which will be on Saturday, Oct. 17, is expected to generate income for the struggling tourism establishments, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan said.
“We are sure we can generate more income so our hotels and resorts can break even and for Oponganons to not go hungry and survive the pandemic,” Chan said.
The City has spent P850 million for its Covid-19 response efforts and Chan said they have already flattened the curve, with no new cases per day recently.
More than 30 hotels and resorts will join the travel fair aimed to stimulate local tourism. They are offering up to 60 percent discount on room booking.
“We have to recover our economy. As we all know, Lapu-Lapu City’s bread and butter is tourism. We are struggling. There’s no money coming in and it’s really difficult. That’s why I’m calling everyone that we help each other,” Chan said.
Tourism, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission chairman Cindi King-Chan said the kickoff of the fair will become an opportunity for tourism stakeholders to showcase the improvements they’ve done in their properties since the Covid-19 pandemic forced the industry to put a premium on safety and wellness. The activity also aims to recover jobs that were lost.
“It gives the thousands of displaced workers in the hospitality industry hope for their families to transition to the new normal and to get back to their work,” she said.
Department of Tourism 7 chief tourism operations officer Gelena Asis-Dimpas welcomed the synergy between the government and the private sector.
“This is something we have been looking forward to. This would speak so much to the level of commitment and the amount of preparation coming from both sectors, from the private and government. This synergy leads to a good outcome,” she said.
Andrew Acquaah-Harrison, chief executive advisor at the GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., the private operator of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, said stakeholders should continue finding solutions.
“In comparison to other local government units, Lapu-Lapu City has found the way of striking a balance between protecting the health of the community, safeguarding the risks against transmission of the virus and trying to get the tourism ecosystem back to what it was before,” he said.
Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Association of Cebu president Carlo Suarez reiterated the group’s call for the public to travel safely.
“We are ready to receive local, domestic and even foreign tourists. We need the economy to run. We are looking forward to a positive tourism take,” he said. (JOB)