‘Best Island in Asia’ recognition a boost of confidence for Cebu’s tourism

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | October 08,2020 - 03:53 PM
'Best Island in Asia' recognition a boost of confidence for Cebu's tourism

The Kawasan Falls is a popular tourist destination in Barangay Matutinao, Badian. | CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu’s recognition as the favorite island destination in Asia provides the much-needed boost to the local tourism industry that was badly hit by the pandemic.

Shalimar Tamano, director of the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7), said that the international recognition from Condé Nast Traveler (CNT), a prestigious international travel magazine, is expected to inspire tourism stakeholders here to ramp up their recovery efforts.

“We’re glad the New York-based magazine announce what we already know here – Cebu is number one… Last year Cebu and Central Visayas got 4.4 million foreign visitors. That surely is a vote of confidence,” said Tamano.

(CNT) on October 7, 2020 (Philippine Standard Time) released its list of best travel destinations in the world.  It named Cebu as the Best Island in Asia for its 33rd Readers’ Choice Awards.

Cebu beat other popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and even the islands of Palawan, Boracay, and Siargao in the Philippines.

READ: Cebu named as ‘best island in Asia’

Tamano and private tourism stakeholders in Cebu like the Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATOS) and the Hotel Resort Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) said that Cebu’s recognition is a testament of the island’s brand being a top tourist destination.

“The island of Cebu has a land area of around 5,000 square kilometers, almost like Bali. So expansion and our outdoors is vast and limitless. (This is why) we continue to work with LGUs (local government units), government agencies, and our stakeholders to sustain our leadership in the industry,” the DOT-7 director said.

CNT’s announcement came amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has crippled the travel and tourism industry worldwide.

For tourism enterprises here, the recent citation for Cebu served as an inspiration for the industry to get back on its feet.

“We will bounce back stronger in 2021 as we transition to the new normal and begin to welcome domestic and international guests back to Cebu,” said Carlo Anton Suarez, HRRAC president.

In doing so, they emphasized collaboration in achieving this goal.

“Definitely, this positive perception of Cebu should inspire and help our tourism recovery. But it poses a challenge to do more, not only to sustain but to exceed tourists’ expectations. While not an easy task in these trying times, focused collaboration of all could be the answer,” said CATOS president Alice Queblatin.

Condé Nast said that voters and readers were given the chance to vote for their favorite picks for the 33rd Readers’ Choice Awards.

Among the top tourist destinations in Cebu the magazine has cited are Kawasan Falls in Badian town, and the centuries-old Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu in downtown Cebu City. / dcb

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