Tourism sec­tor gets big boost

Ev­ery­one, re­gard­less of age, can visit Bantayan Is­land in north­ern Cebu fol­low­ing the re­open­ing of its tourism in­dus­try Fri­day, Gov­er­nor Gwen­dolyn Gar­cia said.

The Freeman - - Front Page - Mae Fhel Gom-os and Mitchelle L. Palaub­sanon, Staff Mem­bers Le Phyllis F. An­to­jado, Cor­re­spon­dent

In Lapu-Lapu City, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment launched yes­ter­day a travel fair as it is slowly tak­ing steps to re­vive the tourism sec­tor badly hit by the coron­avirus pan­demic.

Since Cebu is now un­der the re­laxed mod­i­fied gen­eral com­mu­nity quar­an­tine sta­tus, Gar­cia said, there are no age re­stric­tions for tourists plan­ning to visit Bantayan and other tourist des­ti­na­tions in the prov­ince.

Depar t ment of Tourism i n Cen­tral Visayas Direc­tor Shal­i­mar Ta­mano, for his part, backed Gar­cia’ s state­ment, say­ing fam­i­lies pre­fer trav­el­ing to­gether.

“Who would want to travel kun dili kuyog ang pam­ilya?” he was quoted as say­ing in a re­port pub­lished on the Capi­tol- run web­site, Sugbo News.

The gov­er­nor and other of­fi­cials were on the is­land to in­spect the Bantayan Is­land Air­port and to con­duct a stake­holder’s meet­ing among lo­cal tourism stake­hold­ers.

Also on Fri­day, the In­ter­A­gency Task Force for t he Man­age­ment of Emerg­ing In­fec­tious Dis­eases( I ATF) is­sued Res­o­lu­tion No .79 al­low­ing per­sons from 15 to 65 years of age to go out. But they can only be al­lowed to leave their houses “when in­dis­pens­able” and “un­der the cir­cum­stances for ob­tain­ing es­sen­tial goods and ser­vices, or for work i n in­dus­tries and of­fices or such ac­tiv­i­ties.”

The new res­o­lu­tion also states: “Any per­son be­low 15 years old, those who are over 65 years of age, t hose with im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency, co­mor­bid­ity or other health risks and preg­nant women shall be re­quired t o re­main in their res­i­dence at all times.” Pre­vi­ously, the age set was above 21 to be­low 60.

RE­QUIRE­MENTS

More­over, t ourists who wish t o go visit t he r enowned t ourist des­ti­na­tion need to book t heir ac­com­mo­da­tions be­fore­hand.

The con­firmed ho­tel/ re­sort book­ing is re­quired for the pur­chase of the twoway boat ticket in go­ing to the is­land tourism sites, said Gar­cia.

Un­der the Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der No. 20- A, pre­book­ing must be done prior to vis­it­ing the site at­trac­tion or des­ti­na­tion us­ing the cen­tral­ized on­line book­ing por­tal man­aged by the Cebu Provin­cial Tourism Task Force.

Gar­cia said tourists, how­ever, are not re­quired t o present a med­i­cal cer­tifi­cate.

B u t t o u r i s t s a r e r equired t o wear face masks and face shields in pub­lic trans­porta­tion and pub­lic places, she said.

Gar­cia also urged a l l t h e s t a ke h o l d e r s in­clud­ing re­sort own­ers and op­er­a­tors, tour guides, t our or­ga­ni­za­tions and other provin­cial- re­lated i ndus­tries i n Bantayan t o c o m p l y w i t h t h e re­quire­ments needed for them to op­er­ate to avoid penal­ties.

U n d e r t h e E O , a l l a c c o m m o d a t i o n e s t a bl i s hments must se­cure first a cer­tifi­cate of author­ity to op­er­ate (CAO) from DOT.

Aside from the said r e quire­ments, po­lice check­points were also dis­cussed dur­ing t he stake­hold­ers' meet­ing.

G a r c i a s a i d check­points re­main but should not be strin­gent as be­fore.

She said even board mem­bers who at­tended the meet­ing were scru­ti­nized at a check­point in Bogo City.

“Even our board mem­bers were sub­jected to very strict scru­ti­niz­ing when in fact and gen­eral agree­ment al­ready was the check­points are there, but you will not need to be that strict be­cause the en­tire prov­ince is un­der MGCQ," said Gar­cia.

Cebu P r o v i n c i a l Po­lice Of­fice Colonel Aladdin Col­lado said he al­ready di­rected the city po­lice chief to ease the check­point.

"Rest as­sured t hat there will be changes these com­ing days," he said.

Present dur­ing t he meet­ing were Fourth District Board Mem­bers Ker­rie Shimura and Raci Franco, Fifth District Board Mem­ber Red Duterte, Sixth District Board Mem­ber Glenn An­thony Soco, Ta­mano, and other of­fi­cials. TRIPS

With the re­open­ing of Bantayan's tourism, Su­per Shut­tle Ferry pres­i­dent Paul Ro­driguez said they have two fixed trips from Jag­naya.

He said the first ferry will depart from Jag­naya to the is­land at 8 a.m, while the sec­ond trip is at 2:30 p.m.

I s l a n d S h i p p i n g , through its rep­re­sen­ta­tive, said that they are plan­ning four trips from Jag­naya at 1 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Ferry sched­ules from Bantayan to Jag­naya start at 9:30 a.m., then 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

To en­sure that their sched­ules are strictly fol­lowed, Gar­cia asked M a r i t i m e I n d u s t r y Author­ity ( MA­RINA) 7 Direc­tor Marc An­thony Pas­cua t o mon­i­tor t he sched­ules pro­vided by the two ship­ping lines.

More­over, Gar­cia urged Ce­buanos to ex­plore the prov­ince.

“Now, l et's t r y as much as pos­si­ble as I have been ask­ing, Sug­buanon, ex­plore your own prov­ince. Ta­bangi a ng i s i g ka Sug­buanon. Kay kinsa pa­man diay magtin­a­ban­gay di ba ang mga Sug­buanon mismo karon," she said.

The tourism in­dus­try of Bantayan Is­land was r eopened Fri­day i n a bid to help re­vive Cebu prov­ince's econ­omy.

T h e t h r e e t o wn may­ors i n Bantayan Is­land— Santa Fe Mayor I t h a m a r E s p i n o s a , Bantayan Mayor Arthur De­spi, and Madride­jos Mayor Sal­vador Dela Fuente— ex­pressed their grat­i­tude to the gov­er­nor for re­open­ing the tourism in­dus­try.

Dela Fuente s a i d the re­open­ing of tourism in­dus­try is a big fac­tor for them con­sid­er­ing that they are the ones who sup­ply seafoods to re­sorts and restau­rants in Sta. Fe.

On the pos­si­bil­ity of al­low­ing t ourists from other i s l ands, Gar­cia said the prov­ince is still com­mu­ni­cat­ing with other ar­eas.

“The gov­er­nors, kami we're try­ing to set a date nga magkasabot mi nga i- al­low una nato in­ter­is­land within Re­gion 7. But right now, we are only open to the is­land of Cebu," Gar­cia said. AIR­PORT

I n a s e p a r a t e de­vel­op­ment, the Bantayan Air­port in Barangay Okoy, Santa Fe town is ex­pected to cater big­ger air­crafts soon.

S u g b o N e w s re­ported that the air­port t er­mi­nal pro­ject i s set to be fully op­er­a­tional by the end of the year once the 1.2 kilo­me­ter run­way ex­ten­sion will be com­pleted. TRAVEL FAIR Mean­while, the La­puLapu City gov­ern­ment o f f i c i a l l y l a u n c h e d y e s t e r d a y i t s B a l i k Turismo Travel Fair with an aim to slowly re­cover i t s econ­omy f r om t he health cri­sis.

“We can­not just close our eyes tell our­selves that ev­ery­thing will go back to nor­mal, it won't. Maybe not a year or two. But we can­not af­ford also to close down our busi­nesses, we can­not con­tinue to give food packs and rice to our peo­ple. As a city who de­pends on tourism, we were among the first to be af­fected

but hope­fully, not the last to re­cover,” said Cindi King- Chan, the chair­man of t he City Tourism, Cul­tural and His­tor­i­cal Af­fairs Com­mis­sion.

Ki n g - C h a n s a i d t he ad­min­is­tra­tion of Mayor Ju­nard Chan i n col­lab­o­ra­tion with t he CTCHAC and stake­hold­ers have cre­ated a task force to re­de­fine, re­fo­cus and change their tourism game plan, and to go for­ward in or­der to sur­vive, re­vive and thrive.

“As such, the plan Ba­lik Turismo Travel Fair was born. It is the nu­cleus i n which our t ourism re­cov­ery will jumpstart and ev­ery­thing else will just fol­low,” King-Chan said.

The main ob­jec­tive, she said, is to help the city bounce back from bil­lions of losses, thereby sav­ing busi­nesses, sav­ing jobs and ul­ti­mately sav­ing Oponganons.

Depart­ment Tourism Sec­re­tary Ber­nadette Puyat, in her mes­sage, lauded the city's re­cent tourism ac­tiv­ity.

“As t he c oun­try con­tin­ues t o craft and i m p l e m e n t r e c ove r y mea­sures and re­store travel con­fi­dence, this ac­tiv­ity comes at an op­por­tune time to show­case the prod­ucts and ser­vices as well as the health and safety pro­to­cols of the dif­fer­ent ac­co­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ments that will surely help in re­viv­ing not just Lapu-Lapu City's econ­omy but also t he coun­try as a whole,” Puyat said.

Puyat said restart­ing t ourism i n Lapu- Lapu City in a post quar­an­tine e nvi­ron­ment will be an­chored on at­tributes that has for years has made the city a ma­jor des­ti­na­tion in the coun­try.

“We are grate­ful f o r Lapu- Lapu Cit y gov­ern­ment's ef­fort i n spear­head­ing this ac­tiv­ity. With tourism be­ing the bread and but­ter, a wise choice to make this en­deavor, which is a ma­jor pro­ject of the city gov­ern­ment,” the DOT sec­re­tary added. — /

ALDO BANAYNAL

With the its 'hero' lead­ing the bat­tle, Lapu-Lapu City marches on to the new nor­mal as it launches the Ba­lik Turismo Travel Fair Satur­day to at­tract trav­el­ers back to des­ti­na­tions in Mac­tan Is­land through pro­mos from pre­mier ho­tels, re­sorts, and even from air­lines.

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