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Freeman Cebu Business

DoT exec calls for measures to prepare for tourist influx

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A tourism official said that effective measures should now be put in place to ease the anticipated traffic congestion during the conduct of repairs at the Mactan-Mandaue Bridge, especially now that summer season is just around the bend.

Rowena Montecillo, Central Visayas director of the Department of Tourism, said that while she supports the urgent need to repair the first Mactan bridge, tourists and the public in general going in and out of Mactan must be given travel options.

"The issue is mainly on the congestion and that will affect tours," Montecillo said in an interview.

Some operators of sea vessels were asked to help ferry passengers from Lapu-Lapu City to Mandaue City and vice-versa, following the heavy traffic experienced when the Mandaue-Mactan bridge was partially closed to pave the way for its repair and rehabilitation.

But the Department of Public Works and Highways has temporarily reopened the bridge to two-way traffic, saying the repair of its deck slabs cannot proceed unless the Metropolitan Cebu Water District first repairs its pipelines under the bridge.

Montecillo said some tour operators have already thought of having more sites to be visited in Mactan as an option to avoid traffic.

But those tours to Cebu's countryside that have already been booked have to proceed unless cancelled by the clients, she said.

The tourism official emphasized that it's important to come up with solutions that will lessen the impact of traffic on tours in Cebu.

Montecillo added that an influx of tourists can be expected in the summer months, and also considering that four airline companies are offering more direct international flights from Cebu starting March this year.

The DoT is targeting tourist arrivals in Central Visayas to hit 4.4 million this year. The department is yet to release the full-year tourist count for 2015.

As of October 2015, Central Visayas' tourist count stood at 3.5 million. DoT targets 4.2 million tourists for 2015.

Montecillo was optimistic the region was able to hit its 2015 tourist arrival target.  (FREEMAN)

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