Freeman Cebu Business

Bookings for southern suroy-suroy on the rise

Ehda Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Strong demand for southern corridor visit in Cebu under the "Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo" program has increased this year as visitors for the upcoming Sinulog 2015 started to book for the countryside tour.

Patria Aurora Roa, tourism consultant of the provincial government's tourism and international affairs led by Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, said improving interest from both balikbayan and local visitors is noted to include the countryside tour through Suroy-Suroy program, specifically in the southern part of Cebu.

Roa said the southern corridor of Cebu offers new destinations such as the Aguinid Falls in Samboan and Mainit Spring in Malabuyoc, among others.

The Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo Foundation already made actions in helping the different potential eco-tourism destinations in the south, involving largely the residents in boosting their tourism advantage.

Roa said the southern stretch is being pushed in this time of the year, due to weather considerations, as good tourism sites in the northern part of Cebu like Bantayan Island, Camotes and others can only be accessed by sea, and weather is not usually good in January.

"The northern escapade is good for summer," said Roa adding that the midwest adventure trial on the other hand still has to be pushed further.

Tourism stakeholders in Cebu led by Magpale started to capacitate the residents of different tourism destinations in Cebu starting with the southern part.

In Aguinid Falls, for instance, stakeholders gave inputs on how to develop the area by not destroying its natural beauty. The falls will be part of the ecotourism destination of Cebu.

Aside from capacitating the residents within the identified eco-tourism attraction tourism leaders are also planning to promote souvenir entrepreneurship in the countryside destinations.

In Samboan, there is also a French National who trains women on how to make export quality wooden dolls and other souvenir items, she said.

The Mainit Spring in Malabuyoc, likewise is another promising destination, while the promotion still has to take off, the place has already attracting several foreign visitors.

In an earlier interview with UN-WTO regional vice president for Asia Pacific Lee Choon Loong, he said that eco-tourism component in the world tourism sector is one of the fastest growing sectors.

“Eco-tourism is now a very important buzz-word in toursim sector.The Philippines has huge and beautiful natural resources," Lee added.

Lee suggested that Cebu will maximize its rich marine resources in the eco-tourism component, with careful implementation of marine resource preservation, and implementing strongly involvement of the community.

In the Philippines, Department  of Tourism  assistant secretary for tourism development planning, Rolando Canizal said the the department has identified four top eco-tourism destination these are; Bohol, Palawan, Cagayan Valley and Mt. Apo in Davao.

At present, Costa Rica is the number one eco-tourism destination in the world, because of its organized and systematic policies to promote eco-tourism heavily involving the community to participate reaping the opportunities of tourism.

Roa said due to social media, heightened awareness of eco-tourism, countryside tourism has gained popularity among tourists from both local and foreign nationals.

"Cebu has rich of attractions, particularly in the eco-tourism segment. We just have to help the towns to identify their respective tourism wealth and assist them in taking care of it," said Roa. — (FREEMAN)












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