Travel

CATO head: Most foreign arrivals expected next year yet

CATO head: Most foreign arrivals expected next year yet. In photo are foreign tourists enjoying the beach in one of the resorts in Moalboal town, southern Cebu.

Foreign tourists enjoy the beach in one of the resorts in Moalboal town, southern Cebu. | CDN file photo

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — Local tourism is now beginning to pick up due to ‘revenge travels,’ but the arrival of foreign guests is expected to return to close to normal at least during the second quarter of 2023 yet.

Alice Quiblatin, president of the Cebu Association of Tour Operators (CATO), however said, she only expected to get around 50 percent of foreign arrivals by then if compared to the number of foreign guests who came to Cebu before the pandemic hit in 2020.

“[For] local and domestic [tourists] there is movement, but sa (in the) international, let us be honest about it, we are not yet seeing the numbers nga mao unta atong macall nga recovering na (that we can really call that we are now recovering),” she said.

She said that the best indicator that foreign arrivals were returning to normal was the increase in bookings in the different hotels here.

“If moingon ang Shangri-La nga mangabli na sila sa tanan sa ilang 500 rooms, murag mao na na,” the CATO head added.

(If Shangri-La would open all their 500 rooms then I guess that is it.)

Quoting information from the Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) Inc., Quiblatin said, hotel bookings had remained slow. To date, bookings, especially in the bigger hotels in Cebu, remain between 40 to 60 percent.

And most of the travels made now are by domestic tourists.

Quiblatin said that when the pandemic hit, local tourists were confined to the four corners of their homes.  When restrictions started to loosen, many went on revenge travels.

“Everybody is talking about revenge travels and that’s the kind of revenge that we have. In fact, kaning mga duol diri sa ato nga naay kwarta, they ask — unsay [travel] group nga moguwa? Unsay [destinations nga] open ron? (In fact, those, who are near here and have money, they ask — what group is going out? What [destinations] are open now?,” CATO head said.

Restrictions caused by the pandemic encouraged many locals to go out and explore.

Domestic travels are expected to continue even during the Christmas holidays and the Sinulog in January 2023.

“Mao na nga nakapastrengthen, ang COVID, because people cannot go out. Nakaencourage baya gyud og travel because they haven’t been out of their towns, their homes for two years,” Quiblatin said.

(That is what has strengthened [people to go out], COVID, because people cannot go out. It has encouraged travel because they haven’t been out of their towns, their homes for two years.)

“The domestic and the local is more or less coping with it. Pero kami moingon gyud mi nga 2023 pa gyud ang international. Hopefully, first quarter or second quarter,” she added.

(The domestic and the local is more or less coping with it. But we really say that it will still be 2023, the international travellers. Hopefully, [it will be in the] first quarter or second quarter.)

However, Quiblatin said, there were also a few countries like Turkey that benefited from the restrictions caused by COVID-19.

“That’s how Turkey became a popular destination. Kinsay may ganahan moadto sa Turkey before nga wala man gyud. Karon naa. Because number 1, the airlines did not stop [their operations]. Number 2, open sila [to accommodate guests],” the CATO head said

(That’s how Turkey became a popular destination. Before, who would like to go to to Turkey before, there was no one. Now, there are those who want to go there. This is because number 1, the airlines did not stop [their operations]. Number 2, they are open [to accommodate guests].)

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TAGS: 2023, cato, Cebu‬, Cebu Association of Tour Operators, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, domestic tourists, foreign arrivals, HRRAC, Quiblatin, tourists
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