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Freeman Cebu Business

Tour operators mull taking MICE outdoors

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  To sustain Cebu’s edge in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition (MICE) market, tour operators are planning to bring these events outdoors.

In a virtual discussion held recently, Cebu Alliance of Tour Operators (Catos) president Alice Queblatin, said activity packages in the post COVID-19 era will be held mostly outdoors.

“We will bring small meetings ‘out in the open’,” said Queblatin.

Prior to the pandemic, Cebu has been enjoying high bookings in both domestic and international MICE markets.

According to Queblatin, Catos members are now offering new meeting places for business owners and executives to conduct their work-related meetings and other team building initiatives.

MICE events can now be held in farm tourism sites, mountain retreats and coastal sites, among others.

Plans and strategies are now being drafted by some Catos member companies in order to reintroduce Cebu’s natural attractions, not only to corporate market, but also to individuals who may want to travel within the province after the long months of staying home.

She further assured that accredited destinations will observe proper safety and health measures imposed by the government.

Queblatin, who is also the chairperson of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Cebu Business Month (CBM 2020) tourism committee, added that this initiative was aggressively pursued following the Cebu Province’s decision to reopen the countryside tourism as restrictions are gradually relaxed.

In the past six months, Queblatin admitted that tour operators suffered from zero income, since the Covid-19 pandemic halted global travel movements early this year.

“We are not just affected by the pandemic, but we are extremely affected” she stressed.

“The battle cry of our sector is really to save PH tourism,” she continued.

She further suggested that a unified tourism marketing plan is crucial in rebuilding the confidence and trust of the travel market.

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