IMG +63 (032) 888-2328 IMG
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Thursday, June 11, 2020
Mayors and tourism officers of Cebu towns with ecotourism destinations discuss their tourism recovery plans with Gov. Gwen Garcia as Cebu Province prepares for tourism industry revival. (Lito Tecson)

The Cebu Provincial Government takes on rebranding the province as a “health and wellness destination” to encourage boosting of immune system giving the body a fighting chance against Covid-19. At the same time, this will resuscitate the tourism sector heavily affected by the pandemic.

Reviving the Cebu’s tourism industry will also help regain the jobs stalled by the imposed restrictions on mass gathering, as well as domestic and international travel.

In a meeting with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on June 10, mayors and tourism officers of the different towns and cities of the province discussed their Tourism Recovery Plans, baring the mandatory public health standards to be followed when Cebu’s ecotourism activities return.

These activities include whale-watching, canyoneering, island-hopping, snorkeling, and diving, among others.

While the Inter-Agency Task Force on Managing Emerging Infectious Diseases continues to tag tourism activities as a form of “leisure”, the governor said these should be taken as a livelihood instead.

For Garcia, the call to revive these economic activities is the clear answer to support lives and livelihood. 

“Kining atong mga lakang gitun-an ni nato. Dili man ta magpataka. Dili man ni para namo. Para man sa inyong kinabuhi ug panginabuhi,” Garcia said in her latest virtual presser.

“Government cannot sustain this kind of lockdown, kani nga mga restriction. Government cannot sustain having to shell out more and more funds aron lang sa pagpakaon aning mga nawad-an na’g trabaho, wala na’y panginabuhi. We cannot do this. Or else we will have to set aside our future for the next two, three, four, five years. It’s time to move on and we must move on,” she elaborated.

Present in the meeting were mayors and tourism officers of Cordova, Daanbantayan, San Remigio, Santa Fe, Moalboal, Alegria, Oslob, and Badian.

In rebooting the ecotourism enterprises in the said municipalities, observance of health protocols will be more stringent. 

In Badian, for example, canyoneering used to take 1,000 guests daily but with the planned reopening, the town eyes only 400 guests a day.

Resorts also joined the Capitol’s advocacy by offering steam inhalation or “tuob” kits in each room which will consist of a basin, a kettle, and a towel. Welcome drinks made from salabat (ginger tea), calamansi, and duwaw (turmeric) with honey will be offered to the guests.

The seven towns assured that the equipment commonly used in tour activities such as life vests and other protective gears will be disinfected through ultraviolet light sanitation device. Foot baths will be in place and each  room will accommodate one person only.

Oslob officials said that a family will not be mixed with other guests of their prominent whale-watching activity. Life vests will also be sanitized after every use. 

In Moalboal, the mayor was tasked to issue boat passes to accredited motorbanca operators credible of implementing the mandatory safety or public health standards.

With the steps taken towards tourism recovery, 5th district Provincial Board Member Andrei “Red” Duterte, chairman of the committee on tourism, encouraged Cebuanos to support fellow Cebuanos.

“With foreign arrivals being very scarce, we only have ourselves to ask help for. Hopefully, under new normal, we start thinking our health more and our economy. Kita-kita ra’y makasulbad ani. Cebu helping Cebu. Hinaut nga ang taga-Tabuelan, for example, motabang sa taga-Moalboal,” he said. (Eleanor Valeros)