THE recently-appointed regional director of the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) may be a new face in the industry, but stakeholders said they believe he will bring fresh perspectives to the table.
Alice Queblatin, president of the Cebu Association of Tour Operation Specialists (CATOS), said she expects the new regional director will be able to put forward initiatives that would help accomplish tourism targets set by the DOT amid political unrest throughout the country.
“There is much pressure on Central Visayas to be the lead or anchor destination in sustaining tourism growth, as it is complemented with new tourism investments and infrastructure happening here,” she said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
Former Placer, Masbate mayor Joshur Judd Lanete II took his oath of office before Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo at the DOT-7 office in downtown Cebu City last Friday.
Lanete replaced the late Catalino Chan III, who passed away in March.
The new regional director comes from a family of politicians, being the son of Rizalina Seachon-Lanete and brother to the incumbent Masbate 3rd District Rep. Scott Davies Lanete.
Lanete served as mayor of Placer, Masbate for three terms from 2007 to 2016. He ran for vice governor during the May 2016 election, but lost his bid.
Queblatin said they look to DOT, with Director Lanete at the helm, for specific policy directions as well as consultations with private sector on marketing programs and products.
“We hope this shared vision and commitment will rationalize Cebu’s position and the rest of the region as a top and priority destination in the country. Our sector extends to him our full support,” she said.
Central Visayas welcomed 5.95 million tourists in 2016, up by 29.17 percent from 4.6 million one year before. Of this figure, Cebu got 4.17 million while Bohol got around one million.
Carlo Suarez, president of the Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC), said having a new regional director would mean a new direction in the region’s tourism industry.
“It would have a positive impact knowing that, finally, there is someone who will take the lead in making activities that would boost tourism in Central Visayas,” he said.
Suarez said he would like the new regional tourism chief to focus on security and safety issues in major destinations in the region, since recent circumstances such as terrorist activities and natural calamities have resulted to booking cancellations for certain markets.
He added that faster progress on key infrastructure projects would also help boost the tourism industry.
Bohol tour group
Lourdes Sultan, president of the Bohol Federation of Travel and Tour Operators (BOFETTO), also welcomed the appointment of Lanete as the new DOT-7 director.
“A young blood with fresh ideas and enthusiasm will surely give renewed momentum to the tourism industry in the region, especially in these challenging times,” she said.
The region’s tourism industry was put to a test last April when members of the Abu Sayaff Group tried to infiltrate the island via the town of Inabanga, but government troops were successful in neutralizing the terrorist threat in the province.
Since then, the province, as well as the rest of Central Visayas, has been slowly recovering from what happened.
Sultan added that Lanete’s experiences as a mayor can help him in ensuring that the benefits of tourism will reach the grassroots.
She said she looks forward to the fresh perspective that Lanete’s unique experience will surely bring, which may guide stakeholders on how to move forward.
“The tourism stakeholders in Bohol look forward to an active collaboration and cooperation with Director Lanete, especially in this part of the region,” she said.