Chinese New Year to fuel more business
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - January 29, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The celebration of the Chinese New Year (CNY) has become an important event in Cebu, thanks to the huge Chinese community here, with the season also driving business.

Cebuano-Chinese businessman Robert Go, president of Philippine Retailers Association in Cebu, expects that more Chinese tourists may flock to Cebu during the CNY celebration which falls on February 5, based on Chinese calendar. The so-called Spring Festival lasts for 15 days.

According to Chinese zodiac, the year 2019 is the Year of the Pig.

As more direct flights from various Chinese cities to Cebu are available, more Chinese travelers may visit Cebu during this season, Go said.

Presently, Cebu is directly connected to mainland Chinese cities of Shanghai, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Kunming, Fuzhou, Chongqing and Guangzhou. It’s also connected to Hong Kong and Macau.

“During this season, Chinese people have one week of no work and they mostly go on vacation,” he said. “Many arrivals are expected. This will benefit the restaurant business and hotel business.”

Chinese businessmen, Go said, are looking forward to a good year, citing the election season as a potential driver to business as it increases the circulation of money.

“The Chinese community in Cebu is big, mostly compose business people. We expect spending in restaurants to pick up during the day of the Chinese New Year,” said Go, who owns supermarket chain Prince Retail, which is based in Cebu City’s downtown area, a Chinese-dominated business district.

Go said that Chinese families based in Cebu usually eat out during the celebration, which should benefit restaurants.

During this time, he added, demand for “good luck” icons, a must-have in the Chinese tradition to attract prosperity, also usually rises.

“Stores in the downtown stores will also hang Chinese ornaments. Lion dance will roam the downtown stores asking donations for Chinese activities and temples,” Go said, citing that various Chinese associations in Cebu are also expected to hold get-together activities, thus benefiting food businesses.

Looking into the new year, Go said the Chinese community foresees business prosperity to continue.

“Looking forward to the year of the pig, we are optimistic since pig is generous and good nature,” he said.

Fundamentally, he believes economic prospects remain bright, as inflation starts to cool down and that the country’s growth momentum remains intact. (FREEMAN)

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