Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Cebu, Central Visayas to lead tourism push in PH–Jimenez

Cebu, Central Visayas to lead tourism push in PH–Jimenez
By Candeze R. Mongaya
Cebu Daily News 
December 5, 2011

Cebu will be one of the “areas of inspiration” for development in the country next year, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said over the weekend.

“Central Visayas is a great area of inspiration. It is a primary example of what we can do and what more can be done for other regions,” Jimenez said in last week’s awarding of the 1st Asian Underwater Federation Photography Championships.

Jimenez, who encouraged the local promotion of tourists by maximizing online use specially on social networking sites said the bulk of their tourism promotion efforts will focus on Central Visayas.

Jimenez said the region and Cebu have many things to offer tourists like good services, beaches and established cultural and heritage sites.

From August to November this year, Cebu saw an 11 percent increase in tourism arrivals compared to the same period last year, regional tourism director Rowena Montecillo said.

“We are confident that we can maintain and we will be consistent on the arrivals next year,” Montecillo said in an interview.

She said 2011 is a “good year” to boost tourism in Central Visayas.

She said they are brainstorming on how to brand Central Visayas for 2012.

“It is not costly on the promotions side. We are also planning to synchronize the websites of municipalites in our sites,” she said.

Montecillo said they would also change the checklist of standards on accommodation to be implemented next year.

“We just completed the consultation of all accommodation establishments,” she said.

She said it’s important to upgrade to world class standards for accommodation for its clients.

“We want a very transparent standard, specially in improving the services,” Montecillo said.

In related news, ecology stakeholders are considering to promote Buhisan Dam as an eco-tourism destination for Cebu.

The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL) where the Buhisan watershed is located passed a resolution to push the rehabilitation of infrastructures in the area.

The proposal was presented by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) during the  quarterly PAMB meeting in the last week of November.

The Save the Buhisan Watershed Project was launched three years ago in an effort to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of which the Philippines is one of 189 member-signatories.

The project is a joint effort by the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Lexmark, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and Shell.