Cebu to host int’l tourism forum; gains cited

By Izobelle T. Pulgo, Victor Anthony V. Silva February 14,2017


ANOTHER international event in Cebu this year is sure to bring in more foreign tourists and give more foreign exposure to the Queen City of the South and Cebu Province.

Provincial Tourism Officer Boboi Costas said that Cebu would play host to the 21st Inter-Islands Tourism Policy (ITOP) Forum this year.

Aside from that, the people involved in the tourism industry in Cebu will have a chance to learn from the island provinces in 11 member countries led by representatives of Jeju, South Korea and Hainan, China, which are two of the founding members of the group.

This year, the forum will discuss sustainable island tourism which is the buzzword of global tourism today.

“I observed that the buzzword in today’s (global tourism), when you talk about tourism in today’s context is always sustainable island tourism, especially when you’re dealing with islands like Cebu,” he said.

Costas also said that the event would be held this coming September or October.

“I’m sure this is very new to us but in the context of tourism, global tourism, this is not new, this SIT or sustainable island tourism,” Costas said.

He also said that the tourism sustainability of island destination would be very important because of the limited space and resources found within it.

“If you look at Cebu, it’s an island, and if it’s an island, you have limited tourism space, meaning to say you have limited spaces where tourism activity takes place,” Costas explained.

“We have limited resources, water for example, because we’re only an island. Our forest is dwindling, our land, etc. Plus the problem on traffic, for example. This complicates things, when you talk about tourism,” he said.

Benefits cited

Costas cited the benefits that Cebu would gain from the forum.

“For one, ITOP will promote the significant strides we have made in SIT or Sustainable Island Tourism. We can showcase our community-based projects like the award-winning Aloguinsan ecotourism as well as the other ecotourism and heritage tourism projects of the provincial government currently in the pipeline,” he said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.

“Two, it will strengthen ties among ITOP member island destinations by complementing each other’s strengths. For example, ITOP members can work together air connectivity or develop a cruise tourism circuit,” he said.

Edilberto Mendoza, Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO) president, said he was looking forward to the upcoming tourism forum.

Mendoza said this forum is a platform where islands similar to Cebu can share best tourism practices and learn from each other.

“Cebu will definitely benefit from these learnings toward improving our travel and tourism industry,” he said.

Cebu’s hosting of the forum was among those discussed by representatives of Hainan, China, who visited the Capitol yesterday.

Costas said that the ITOP Forum was discussed during the yesterday’s visit of representatives from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Hainan Province of China at the Capitol.

The Chinese officials also invited Gov. Hilario Davide III to the Asian Economic Forum, which will be held in Hainan Province next month.

Aside from that, Costas, who stood in for Davide, also discussed the possibility of reviewing the 20-year-old memorandum of understanding between Cebu and Hainan Province.

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