DOT: Tourist arrivals target within reach
Even without the estimated 3,000 APEC visitors, the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office is confident of hitting the arrivals target for Central Visayas this year.
DOT Regional Director Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo said the influx of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) delegates was not considered when the target was set.
“APEC is one program that was not in the pipeline for targets. With APEC, we got a bonus,” she said in a press conference earlier this week.
So far, she said the DOT is “on track” in terms of arrivals.
“Our target for the year is 4.4 (million) and we are now halfway at 2.2 (million),” she said.
Cebu’s hosting of over 100 APEC meetings from Aug. 22 to Sept. 11 has created jobs and boosted revenues and sales of hotels, restaurants and retail establishments.
Montecillo said an APEC delegate spends an average of $100 a day on top of accommodation expenses.
Delegates have availed of 49 tour packages that cost P2,500 to P3,000 per person, translating to about P300,000 in sales, she added.
Cebu, being a transshipment hub in central Philippines, accounts for the bulk of arrivals in the region.
The tourism department is looking to aggressively promote the province as a cruise destination as well as an ESL (English as Second Language) destination.
So far, Montecillo said two cruise packages include Cebu. A cruise ship stayed overnight in Cebu last week.
She said the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) plans to clear Pier 6, where cargo ships currently dock, and reserve this for cruise ships.
A proposed project to build an international container yard in Consolacion is awaiting approval by the national government. If approved, this should clear some space up at the Cebu International Port for the cruise ships, Montecillo said.
The DOT director also noted that several ESL schools have emerged in Cebu.
She said they were looking at convincing two big ESL associations to sell Cebu as a destination.
The tourism industry is expected to get a boost with the upgrading of the Mactan Cebu International Airport and the introduction of additional direct international flights.
“According to our market development group handling routes development, there will be more in Cebu this year,” Montecillo said.
Among those recently added are direct links to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo in Japan, she added. Additional links to Europe are expected.
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