Fort San Pedro is one of the may attractions on the Cebu menu
Hotel managers and tour operators are onside with Philippine tourism authorities, backing their goal of 6.3 million plus visitors in 2015.
Hans Hauri, Marco Polo Hotel Country Manager and President of the Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association (HRRAC) Cebu chapter, said the 6.3 million national target by the end of President Aquino’s term or double the level of arrivals in 2010 arrivals was doable. “More importantly, the goal is achievable, and thus a sound base for everybody to tune into the plan and make it happen,” he added. However industry members warned that it would not happen by itself, identifying key areas for improvement.
The national brand, “undiscovered treasurers and hidden gems”, has been met with approval, but needs to be complemented on a regional scale. Efren Belarmino, general manager of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, told Cebu Daily News that Cebu needs to establish its own brand identity that encapsulates the tourist experience. This has been made easier after Cebu was awarded ASEAN Cultural City status earlier this week.
Infrastructure must also be developed. “It will boil down to infrastructure, roads, transport system, traffic, as well as ensuring our taxi cabs and drivers are in proper attire,” Belarmino added. As part of this development attracting internationally branded hotel chains is important in setting standards. “When tourists see that these international brands are here, it makes a good impression for Cebu That will make marketing Cebu easier,” Belarmino said.