Governor Gwendolyn Garcia will invite the three governors in Central Visayas and their respective tourism officers to the inter-island tourism summit scheduled on November 27 in Cebu and the mini Suroy-Suroy Sugbo in Bantayan Island on November 28.
They had initially planned to meet last August to talk about the resuscitation of the tourism industry in Region 7 but this was postponed.
“There was an initial plan before August pa gali unta to nga mag meet mi ngadtos Siquijor and then suddenly wala napud nikalit og close down ang uban provinces. So, I am really thinking of inviting the other three provinces — the three governors and their own tourism officers here, ngari sa Cebu para ari mi mag meet,” she said.
Garcia will invite Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo and Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa to Cebu to talk about the possibility of reviving domestic tourism.
“Actually, this is what I’ve been trying to push for, that the other provinces bisan musugod lang ka sa Central Visayas- Negros Oriental, Bohol, Siquijor, and of course kita sa Cebu. We could have this inter-province tourism program,” Garcia said.
“We are closely watching the thrust of our neighboring provinces and the other three governors. We do hope that perhaps we will be able to schedule a meeting so we could come up with a holistic and consensual tourism program that will benefit Central Visayas,” she added.
Sometime in July 2020, the four governors agreed in a virtual meeting to meet in August 2020 to reopen and revive the inter-island tourism which was greatly affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Garcia disclosed that she is asking the help of the Office of the Presidential Assistance for the Visayas (OPAV) for the inter-island tourism summit next month.
“We’re trying to coordinate with the OPAV. We’re hoping to schedule the tourism summit between the four governors on the 27th and we will invite them, if they would wish to join us, the governors and tourism officers, sa Bantayan on that flight from Mactan-Cebu to the Bantayan Airport,” Garcia told reporters on Thursday, November 5.
The mini Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo is in line with the tourism event organized by the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) together with GMR-Megawide Corporation in partnership with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Tourism in time for the soft opening of the newly upgraded and renovated Bantayan Island Airport this November.
The event will bring along social media influencers, vloggers and bloggers so they can experience and share to other tourists how Cebu tourism in the new normal looks like.
Guests will be accommodated in an 80-seater turbo-prop aircraft for its maiden flight that will take off from Mactan Cebu International Airport to Bantayan Island Airport.
Garcia has led the way in the reopening of tourism in the Province amidst the pandemic that has caused major economic upheaval in the country and the rest of the world.
Despite public apprehension, the governor pushed for the revival of Cebu’s tourism to help thousands of Cebuanos whose livelihood rely mainly on tourism.
Since August, tourism in the countryside has been opened in some of Cebu’s popular sites and activities like canyoneering in Badian and Alegria, sardine run in Moalboal, whale-watching in Oslob, island hopping in Cordova, cave visits in Camotes Island, and Bojo river cruise in Aloguinsan, among others. (Vanessa Almeda, Mylen Manto)