THE Department of Trade and Industry is holding a trade fair in a mall in Cebu City to take advantage of the tourists, including the estimated 500 balikbayans of the Balik Cebu program who are set to arrive in Cebu this week for the Sinulog festivities.
The influx of tourists and balikbayans during this time is also seen to boost the business of micro, small, and medium-scale entrepreneurs (MSMEs), said Ma. Elena Arbon, DTI Cebu director, in a recent interview.
Tetta Baad, committee chair of the Balik Cebu program, said during the unveiling of the Balik Cebu booth last Wednesday in Ayala Center Cebu that the number of Cebuanos returning from other countries during the religious and cultural festivity has increased over the years.
The Balik Cebu program is an offshoot of the initiative of tourism stakeholders to encourage more overseas Filipinos to come home.
Now on its 16th year, the Balik Cebu program grew from accommodating 200 returning Cebuanos in 2002 to 500 in the last two years.
The DTI will hold the trade fair at the SM Activity Center from Jan. 5 to Jan. 16, although there may be an extension.
“This will be an opportunity for them to sell their products to tourists who will be coming for Sinulog, to touch base with their market and test for new products,” she said in a phone interview.
She said that there would be 84 booths at the fair with at least two MSMEs sharing space in each booth.