Cebu Province will now open its doors to tourists from anywhere in the country.
Visitors who wish to stay in resorts and hotels will only need to show their pre-booked reservations while those who want to experience the different tourism activities will have to register ahead at the Capitol’s booking portal.
This was the agreement reached by the Cebu Provincial Tourism Task Force in a meeting called by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday, February 11.
Based on the latest Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of the Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) and General Community Quarantine (GCQ) can now cross borders with minimum requirements.
“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, quoting Section 7 (3) of the Guideline.
“So it could be to go visit some relatives here, for business, or more importantly, for tourism,” the governor told the Task Force.
In the meeting, the members were unanimous in their observation of the need to revive Cebu’s economy as more and more people are suffering from joblessness.
“A lot of our constituents already are suffering, many have lost their jobs, many have been wanting to find some living. Because of these constraints (community restrictions) lisud gyud kaayo, especially those in the tourism industry,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Provincial Director Jhoaden Lucero observed.
She said opening tourism will be “a step to moving forward”.
Officials also emphasized that the Province is the main hub of tourism, education, information technology (IT), and a major economic player in the region.
Provincial Tourism Officer Marti Ybañez said while tourism traffic increased during the holiday season, it dropped again this year.
“Opening up our borders will really help our industry, Gov,” Ybañez told the governor.
Cebu was the first province to open its tourism industry as early as the end of July last year to revive the economy that is badly beaten by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Garcia has been in the forefront in this battle while rallying all local leaders, public and private, and national government agencies to push the economy forward.
Major economic programs have already been rolled out since last year including the Sugbo Negosyo grassroots livelihood activity which supports Cebu’s homegrown local products and entrepreneurs.
Agriculture was also given a boost through its Sugbusog program or the backyard vegetable gardening which is spurring economy activity in the grassroots.
The Task Force will meet next week to finalize the crafting of the guidelines.
Tour operators, shipping and airline companies will also be invited to share their inputs. (Vanessa L. Almeda)