Fewer Sinulog contingents seen
(The Freeman) - January 5, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – The Sinulog Foundation Inc. expects fewer contingents but more spectators for this year’s grand parade compared to the previous year.

During an Association of Government Information Officers Forum yesterday, SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros said the fewer number of contingents could be attributed to the election season.

“Usually, sa atong out-of-town contingents, we have seven now. Last year, nine or 10. Election year man gud. Usually basta election year, local government units magpugong sa budget,” he said.

Ballesteros said the foundation is expecting 30 contingents for the grand parade this year, which is fewer than last year’s 40 contingents.

“We are looking at 30 contingents so that we can finish by 7 p.m. Last year, we finished around 9 p.m., (and) we had a problem on crowd control (when contingents were) going in the Cebu City Sports Center,” he said.

As to the number of spectators, Ballesteros they expect more this year considering that a week after the Sinulog grand parade Cebu is hosting the 56th International Eucharistic Congress.

He said domestic and international revelers will likely flock to Cebu City before the IEC schedule, which is from January 24 to January 31, or a week after the grand parade on January 17.

Department of Tourism-7 Senior Tourism Operations Officer Riza Macaibay, who was also present during the AGIO Forum, said they are expecting around 300,000 tourists in Cebu for the whole January.

This number, she said, is higher compared to January 2015, when DOT-7 recorded 284,627 domestic and international tourists.

She said last year’s number of tourists was 11.58 percent higher than the January 2014 arrivals.

Macaibay said that with the Sinulog and the IEC, there would be a significant increase in the number of tourists in Cebu for this month.

At the Mactan Cebu International Airport, officials said they are prepared for the anticipated influx of visitors.

Estee Marie Plunket, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. corporate affairs head, said that similar to last year, the airport expects to welcome a 50-percent increase in the daily arrival of tourists during the Sinulog weekend.

GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. is the private operator of the MCIA.

Plunket said that with several improvement and upgrades already, MCIA could handle their number.

She said that starting January 10, the airport would start installing posters and other Sinulog collaterals.

She said they have also prepared 2,000 Sinulog survival kits that would be given to random travelers on January 15 and 16. The kit has water, sweets, wet wipes, and other necessities that would help them better enjoy the grand Sinulog parade.

Meanwhile, Ballesteros said that with the increase in market demand, hotel establishments are expected to jack up their room rates.

“Taas gyod na. Two hundred to 300 percent increase. That is why I am asking DOT kon pila ra ang allowed nila nga maka-increase,” he said.

In response, Macaibay said their office cannot control and has not set any cap to hotel rates.

“The hotel is basing (its rates) on demand and supply. But even ana, mahurot ra gihapon na. I cannot say kon pila gyuy percentage,” she said. — Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/RHM (FREEMAN)

 

ACIRC ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENT INFORMATION OFFICERS FORUM AT THE MACTAN CEBU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT BALLESTEROS CEBU CEBU CITY CEBU CITY SPORTS CENTER CONTINGENTS MEGAWIDE CEBU AIRPORT CORP SINULOG YEAR
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