As economic driver, tourism gives hope – Cebu governor

Mitchelle Palaubsanon - The Philippine Star
As economic driver, tourism gives hope � Cebu governor
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia delivers the keynote speech during yesterday’s Freeman Business Forum 2024 held at Bai Hotel in Mandaue City, Cebu. The well-attended forum gathered tourism stakeholders to learn about trends and initiatives shaping Cebu’s tourism landscape.
Aldo Banaynal

MANILA, Philippines — Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia took center stage as the keynote speaker during The Freeman Business Forum 2024 held yesterday at Bai Hotel in Mandaue City, shedding light on the tourism initiatives of the provincial government. 

Among these initiatives, Garcia spotlighted her brainchild program, the renowned “Suroy Suroy Sugbo,” which has been pivotal in showcasing the many beautiful tourist destinations across the province.

Garcia emphasized the role of the program not only in promoting Cebu’s tourist spots but also in uplifting local communities by providing livelihood and economic growth.

“You will see just how there is this feeling of hope of better things to come because we have shown that indeed through tourism, people’s lives can improve and be better,” the governor said.

According to Sugbo News, the official Facebook page of the provincial government, the program has emerged as a beacon of hope for many, breathing new life into previously overlooked locales within Cebu. 

Under Garcia’s watch, tourism gems like Kawasan Falls, the Tuburan mountains and Camotes Island were unraveled.

The governor also cited how Suroy Suroy Sugbo spotlights what Cebu has to offer in terms of attractions, food, culture and heritage, opening doors for investment opportunities.

The provincial government stages the Suroy Suroy every year as part of its commitment to furthering Cebu’s tourism agenda.

In his welcome message, Miguel Belmonte, Philippine Star Media Group and The Freeman Newspaper president and CEO, said that it is a most opportune time to be holding a forum focused on tourism now that the industry is looking to regain its footing and is projected to fully recover by the end of 2024.

“With the concerted efforts of our Department of Tourism under the very able leadership of Secretary Christina Frasco, together with all tourism stakeholders from government and the private sector, the country is poised to attain record arrivals and receipts this year, or at the very least reset our tourism numbers to pre-pandemic levels,” Belmonte said. 

Belmonte added that Cebu is the best venue for this forum with its innate beauty, attractions and rich heritage as well as its beautiful airport.

Organized by The Freeman in line with its 105th founding anniversary, the first Freeman Business Forum with the theme, “Trends that Shape Cebu’s Tourism Landscape,” was graced by key players in Cebu’s business community and tourism stakeholders including tourism officers in the province.

Also featured were talks from Tuburan Mayor Aljun Diamante, founder of Tuburan Coffee and owner of Tuburan 360 and Diamante Group of Companies; Sunshine Lim, college president and school executive director of Sto. Niño Mactan College and Sto. Niño Mactan Montessori School; Samantha Manigsaca, AppleOne Group asset manager for hotels and Ma. Asuncion Canen, Converge assistant vice president and VisMin head for enterprise sales. — The Freeman

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