Published on : Saturday, October 28, 2017
Alice Queblatin, the president of the Cebu Association of Tour Operations Specialists (Catos), said this during the latest UK travel advisory warning citizens about traveling to the southern part of the Philippines, including portions of Cebu province, due to â€œthreat of terrorism.â€
Queblatin said that Cebu had consistently shown that it is a safe place to visit and that the government is in full control.
She said, â€œThe liberation of Marawi and the continuing coverage of Asean meetings ongoing in Bohol are positive signs that the security issue is addressed.â€ Queblatin also said that travel advisories had been there before and yet the visitors continue to come to Cebu.
In a warning issued on October 24, the UKâ€™s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised its citizens against travelling to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between military and insurgent groups.
Furthermore, the FCO also warned against travelling to Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) and to the south of Cebu province, including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.
Edilberto Mendoza, Catos past president, said that this is a new challenge for the local tourism industry and it needs to overcome that. Mendoza also called on the community to unite in prayer and to prove to the international community that Cebu is indeed a safe place to visit.
Tourism in Central Visayas took a heavy blow early this year following several advisories issued by countries such as the US, UK, Japan and Korea. Tour operators were forced to suspend day tours to Bohol, risking losses of up to P800,000 a day while hotels and resorts saw a drop in occupancy as well as booking cancellations from foreign guests.
According to preliminary data from the DOT in Central Visayas (DOT-7), tourist arrivals in Central Visayas dropped by 3.02 percent between January and April this year.
The tourism agency recorded 5.95 million arrivals in Central Visayas last year and targets an increase of five percent for 2017, which could have been higher if not for the events that happened during the first quarter of this year.
Despite challenges, the Philippines Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said that the Philippines remains a favorite destination for tourists, with international arrivals breaching the million mark as early as February of this year.
Tags: Cebu tourism