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By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Tuesday, July 14, 2020
An online booking portal for Cebu Province’s tourism packages will soon be made available for domestic tourists to ensure safe and smooth implementation of public health protocols when Cebu’s tourism industry reopens. (Lito Tecson)

An online booking portal is now being prepared by the Cebu Provincial Government in preparation for the opening of Cebu’s tourism industry with cashless transactions.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who met with tourism, health and trade and industry officials on Monday, July 13, underscored the need for a collaborative effort from these key agencies in order to come up with a responsive but realistic tourism plan.

She said this is also to ensure an organized implementation of tourism activities that follow health and safety protocols as outlined in the quarantine rules during this time of pandemic.

Garcia said a task force composed of the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Province of Cebu will be formed once the Executive Order is signed “so there will be check and balance.”

“We are now trying to have an online booking para ma-control (ang influx sa tourists) and monitoring would be easier for the task force,” Provincial Tourism Officer Marti Ybañez said in a separate interview.

The One Cebu Tourism Portal will contain all tourism activities offered by the province such as whaleshark-watching, trekking, canyoneering, sardine run and turtle-watching, scuba diving, snorkelling, and other tourism-related activities which guests can avail of.

Based on the portal’s concept, guests can choose what tourism activity they will want and then pay directly online. 

Meanwhile, Garcia and members of the task force will be visiting the tourism sites in the south like Oslob, Moalboal, Badian and Alegria on July 15-16, 2020 to get the stakeholders’ inputs on the tourism plan. 

”We still have to talk with the different stakeholders and municipalities para sad we will also hear out kung unsa pud ila concerns ug point-of-view kay basin ok na to unya dili (diay) ok nila. So we have to meet at the center,” Ybañez added.

The Province will be targeting the domestic market as international tourism traffic is still not allowed. 

Ybañez said the task force will try to come up with a more “balanced” rates to offer guests. 

“Amo pa gikuhaan kung mao ni ang margin niya og average nga dili sila maalkansi. We have to meet halfway, at least naa silay income kaysa wala,” Ybañez said.

DTI Assistant Secretary Asteria Caberte, for her part, said what the province could offer now will be a real value for money for guests. 

Caberte thanked Garcia for taking this initiative and expressed hope that by taking part in this tourism program, DTI will be able to assist displaced tourism workers through its Serbisyo sa Barangay program that was launched before the Covid-19 pandemic. (Vanessa L. Almeda)