BARILI, Cebu – The Cebu Provincial Government will be reopening more tourism activities and destinations soon as part of its efforts to revive the local economy.
In a press conference in Barili town of southern Cebu, on Sunday, August 2, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said the Capitol will also be relaunching tourist destinations that are located in other towns in the province.
“We are planning to reopen canyoneering activities in Badian and Alegria, Bojo River Cruise in Aloguinsan, mountaineering and trekking in Dalaguete, and diving in Cordova, to name some,” said Garcia.
Garcia said the provincial tourism office is also eyeing to promote dolphin watching activities in the northwestern town of Asturias.
From July 31 to August 2, Garcia led the ceremonial reopening of tourism enterprises in the towns of Oslob, Moalboal, and Barili in southern Cebu.
It marked the official relaunch of the province’s tourism industry after being placed under lockdown for more than four months due to threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Garcia has been very vocal of the Capitol’s need to already reopen tourism activities as the provincial government scrambles to resuscitate its economic health.
“We really have to reopen tourism to help our Sugbuanons, who were negatively impacted [by the pandemic], to get back on their feet,” said Garcia.
Tourism has been cited as one of the major economic drivers in Cebu, particularly in the towns of Oslob and Moalboal which is popularly known for hosting whale-shark watching and diving activities respectively.
In 2019, state auditors have reported that the local government of Oslob earned as much as P132 million from whale-shark watching activities alone.
Garcia said their weekend relaunch was proven “effective in terms of generating interests from people.”
“This is why our provincial tourism task force decided to do the reopening in a schedule. And as we can see, it really generated a lot of interests,” she said.
Cebu province is now under the most relaxed form of community quarantine, modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), which allows leisure and tourism enterprises to resume.
Prior to the Capitol’s weekend activities, Garcia issued another set of Executive Order (EO) that laid down guidelines and protocols that all tourism stakeholders needed to follow while operating under the “new normal.”
This includes the establishment of a centralized booking online portal for the Capitol to monitor the number of guests per tourist destination and help in future contact tracing initiatives.
While residents in Cebu province were encouraged to support local tourism, Garcia, however, cautioned that they will only accept bookings from individuals residing in areas under MGCQ.
This meant that those living in Cebu City and other localities placed under GCQ are not allowed to enter the territorial jurisdiction of Cebu province for leisure purposes.
“We can only accept them if Cebu City has been downgraded to MGCQ,” said Garcia.
Data from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) showed that Cebu province has documented a total of 1,856 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of August 2. Of these, 835 were classified as active cases that pertain to patients who are still infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the infection. / dcb