Cebu tourism groups getting ready for Miss Universe event
Tourism stakeholders are ready to show what the province can offer during the Miss Universe swimsuit competition in Cebu next year.
Edilberto Mendoza, president of the 41-member Cebu Association of Tour Operators, said they can cook up exciting tour packages for delegates as early as now.
“There is no exact location yet, nothing definite at the moment. But we can always come up with packages that will highlight that particular location,” he said in a phone interview.
He said Bantayan Island in the northern part of Cebu, given its white sand beaches and pristine waters, would be ideal for the competition but hotel capacity would be a major concern.
For Mendoza, Lapu-Lapu City would be the best candidate. He said delegates and their families can be treated to a tour around Mactan Island, its islets, and beaches.
While details aren’t final yet, he said it is a welcome advantage for the industry since the event will attract more tourists here.
Central Visayas welcomed 4.4 million domestic and foreign visitors in 2015. 3.3 million of whom arrived in Cebu.
This year, the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas targets to attract 5.8 million visitors by the end of 2016.
However, Mendoza stressed the need to prioritize safety and security concerns as well as problems on traffic congestion in major cities in the province.
Cebu is being eyed as one of the venues for Miss Universe pageant activities following the proposal of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino to expose provinces and cities outside Metro Manila.
Dino said there are at least two hotels in Lapu-Lapu City being considered as venue for the swimsuit tilt.
Hembler Mendoza, Lapu-Lapu City tourism chief, said they are ready to host the pageant activity should it push through in Cebu. He said there are 79 accommodation establishments in the city with a total capacity of 4,879 rooms.
Lapu-Lapu City has been in the international spotlight in the last few years for hosting Cobra Ironman 70.3 races.
This year’s race drew close to 3,000 athletes from 43 countries, including the Philippines. The city will once again host the Ironman in August next year.
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, chair of the provincial board committee on tourism, welcomed the Miss Universe proposal as this would serve as free advertisement for the province.
The Philippines last hosted the Miss Universe pageant in 1994 where candidates also spent time in Cebu as part of their pre-pageant activities. This time, Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach from Cagayan de Oro City will turn over the crown to the next reigning beauty queen.
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