Tamano: Tourist arrivals in Cebu still high
TOURISTS continue to flock to Cebu despite the travel advisory issued by the British government, the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) said.
DOT-7 Director Shalimar Tamano said Koreans still top the list of foreign tourists in Cebu, followed by the Chinese with the Japanese ranking third.
Although Tamano admits that travel advisories are a cause for concern, he said the countries issuing them should not be blamed since they are just protecting their citizens.
“We should be concerned. But what I am saying is do not blame the one who is doing because they are just protecting their citizens,” Tamano said.
Last Aug. 13, the United Kingdom (UK) issued a travel warning to British citizens travelling to Cebu to avoid the southern part of the province particularly Dalaguete and Badian, due to an alleged “terrorism threat.”
“Kita actually kinahanglan maanad nata anang (We should be used to these) advisories. Because any country can issue an advisory depending on their national interest. We have to understand that they have to protect their citizens,” Tamano said.
Three days after UK issued a travel advisory, a suspected member of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was arrested in Barangay Ocaña, Carcar City.
The suspect was identified as Oger Roma Pelonio, 69, of Sultan Kudarat who has been living in a rented house in Carcar for the past six years.
Police allegedly recovered from his residence several firearms and ammunition, a Quran, a taqiyah, mobile phones, and a hand grenade.
However, Pelonio denied being a member of the terrorist group and instead claimed to be a former soldier of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the 1960s.
His case is still being looked into by authorities.
Tamano believes that a travel advisory should serve as a lesson that there is a need to strengthen the security forces in Cebu, the island being a top tourist draw especially with the continued closure and rehabilitation of Boracay Island.
“I think we’ve learned our lesson diri sa Cebu. What we can do now is to strengthen our security efforts,” Tamano said.
To achieve this, Tamano said that he is closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the AFP and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) for security measures.
Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Joselito “Boboi” Costas in a previous interview, said that tourist arrival in Cebu had increased to at least 17 percent from 2016 to 2017.
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