Tourism commission eyes local tourists in helping industry survive Covid-19 crisis
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Cebu City Tourism Commission is preparing programs that can help the local tourism industry survive the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.
Commissioner Jocelyn Pesquera told CDN Digital that hotels in the city have recorded an 80 percent drop in bookings, affecting mostly the bigger hotels that have more rooms and guest capacities.
Pesquera refused to reveal the individual losses of each of the hotels in the city, but the Department of Tourism (DoT) has projected losses up to P23 million due to the Covid-19 scare.
Pesquera said they are formulating programs to help the tourism industry survive past the crisis. Among their plans include encouraging local tourists to travel to Cebu.
“Our target now are the local, Filipino tourists. We want them to come to Cebu to visit, hold conferences, symposia, or business meetings. We want Cebu City to become the destination for local tourists,” she said.
She said inviting more local tourists to travel to Cebu City would hopefully cover up for the “huge loss” in foreign tourists.
Pesquera is also urging hotels to shift their marketing strategy and focus in bringing in local tourism into the city.
The hotels and tours must be creative in finding means to sell Cebu City and its nearby towns to fellow Filipinos.
She said the city’s tourism commission continues to hold dialogues with the city’s tourism sector to address these issues.
Pesquera said that the current dilemma in the industry not only affects the hotel and accommodation establishments but also touring services.
Although there have been no reported cutbacks in personnel, as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) encouraged employers to shift work schedules of employees instead of firing them, the lack of tourists are affecting the tour guides and hired personnel like drivers.
“We don’t want to think this situation will worsen, but we need to prepare for it. It’s too sad to think that the worst will come,” Pesquera told CDN Digital. /bmjo
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