6th world’s best island destination Capitol vows to work harder, aims to improve ranking

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva July 11,2016 - 10:12 PM

The Cebu Provincial government is working on improving the standards of tourism in canyoneering destinations in Alegria and Badian by crafting better policies in their operations such as improving the training of canyoneering guides.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Cebu Provincial government is working on improving the standards of tourism in canyoneering destinations in Alegria and Badian by crafting better policies in their operations such as improving the training of canyoneering guides. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Capitol should have a more holistic tourism development effort to sustain if not better its 6th best island destination of the world ranking this year given by readers of an international travel magazine.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, chairperson of the Cebu Provincial Tourism Commission, said this isn’t just a source of elation but also a push of motivation for the provincial government to double its tourism development efforts.

“Our tourism development is more holistic now. That should be the case if we’re trying to be number one,” Magpale said in a phone interview yesterday.

Travel + Leisure survey

Magpale was referring to the recognition given by readers of the New York-based Travel + Leisure Magazine to Cebu, ranking it as the 6th best island destination in the world.

Cebu is among four places in the Philippines recognized by the readers of the magazine in a survey detailing their travel experiences.

Cebu got a score of 88.65 percent; Boracay, the number 2 spot in the survey, got 90.47 percent, with Palawan topping the magazine’s world’s best island destination list. Luzon was the fourth Philippine destination to be named in the survey.

The readers ranked the islands according to the activities and sights they had, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value of the place.

Magpale said the Capitol had been working on developing tourism sites in Cebu while protecting the island’s natural beauty at the same time.

The provincial government had already set aside P16 million for the development of ecotourism sites in Cebu last year, including Aloguinsan’s dolphin watching project, the river canyons of Alegria, Tabuelan’s Batawang River tour, Asturias’s Buswang eco-park adventure, and Gaas river adventure of Balamban.

She also cited the Capitol’s efforts of trying to elevate the standards of tourism in Cebu as the reason behind the Capitol’s move of temporarily halting canyoneering activities in Alegria and Badian to craft better policies for their operations.

Magpale said this wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation of the public and private sectors in the areas.

Road projects

Department of Tourism Central Visayas (DOT 7) Director Rowena Montecillo earlier cited improved infrastructure as among the factors that would boost tourist arrivals in the region.

She said that the DOT, in tandem with the Department of Public Works and Highways, would undertake 14 road projects in Cebu alone and 28 others in strategic locations all over Central Visayas worth P1.8 billion.

These road projects would connect one tourism destination to another, making movement more convenient for tourists, she said.

Plus for business

“This is great news indeed for Cebu,” said Melanie Ng, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president.

Ng said this achievement would surely create a positive impact on Cebu’s stakeholders, especially those in the tourism industry.

“It will create interest among world travelers to come and visit us, and an increase in tourist arrivals will redound to a positive economic effect for businesses here in Cebu,” Ng said.

She also added that it will give Cebuanos a great opportunity to showcase the wonders of Cebu while at the same time be more responsible in making sure that better and more interesting tourism packages were offered to the tourists.

“Improving services and tourism sites must be done with more concerted efforts by our stakeholders also,” commented Ng.

For Ng, Cebu Province’s initiative to improve further the eco-tourism projects and activities would contribute to a more fruitful outcome.

“Tourism stakeholders can then most definitely promote and market these potentials (eco-tourism projects and activities) to the tourists,” she added.

Better organization

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said Cebu being recognized by an international travel magazine as one of the best islands in the world was good, but he believed that there were a lot of things to be done for tourism here.

He described the tourism efforts here as “very disorganized.”

“We want to get Cebu organized. We must find somebody who knows Cebu because even our players here don’t cooperate. And we’re losing many opportunities because of that,” he said./With UP Cebu Intern Amy A. Macalinao Correspondent Nestle L. Semilla

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TAGS: Capitol, CCCI, Cebu, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Tourism, Department of Tourism Central Visayas, DOT-7, DPWH, Rowena Montecillo

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