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Magpale mulls Tourism Code

Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - May 21, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines - Vice-Governor Agnes Magpale has lobbied for the creation of a Tourism Code in an effort to sustain and maintain the momentum of Cebu’s tourism industry.

“Cebu’s undisputable reputation as the country’s top tourist destination highly demands constancy and sustainability in as much as its economic growth depends largely on the vibrancy and dynamism of its local tourism industry especially in the rural areas,” Magpale, chairperson of the PB committee on tourism and international affairs, said in the draft ordinance that she authored.

The draft ordinance was referred to the committee on tourism during the board’s recent session for further study.

Magpale said the province has recognized tourism industry as a “potent engine that propels economic growth.”

“The creation of the code would serve as a holistic approach in developing and promoting tourism and culture in the province,” she said.

Magpale said Cebu is considered a premier tourist destination in the country, owing to the rising number of tourists coming in year after year.

“The strategic geography of Cebu province, with all the existing facilities and amenities for transportation, communication, accommodation, education, food, entertainment as well as the province’s colorful history, heritage, culture and arts coupled with the abundance of diverse natural and man-made tourist attractions, plus the Cebuano’s distinctly unique brand of hospitality serve as alluring magnets to tourists both foreign and domestic,” she said.

Among the objectives of the Tourism Code is to strengthen the Provincial Tourism and Heritage Council, create the Cebu Provincial Tourism and Cultural Office, and institutionalize certain programs such as Suroy-Suroy Sugbo.

The Cebu Provincial Tourism and Heritage Council will formulate plans and recommend measures to preserve, enforce and promote Cebuano history, culture and arts, among others.

Magpale said the council will ensure that tourism development plans of the provincial government are properly implemented and sustained.

The council will have an executive committee (EXECOM), the overall coordinating body of the council, to collate and synthesize the different plans, programs, recommendations and reports; the committee on tourism which is responsible for formulating plans for tourism development and promotion; the committee on Cebuano Language Culture and Arts for the promotion of Cebuano language and the preservation of Cebuano culture and arts; and the committee on sites, relics and structures.

Magpale said she was also seeking to create a commission to oversee the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program, which was started during the administration of former gov. Gwen Garcia, that sought to promote local tourist destinations to both domestic and foreign visitors by holding tours every January and April of the year.

“The Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program is considered an effective toll in the promotion of our local industry. There is a need to institutionalize it to ensure its permanence and sustainability as a tourism development program of the provincial government,” the vice-governor said.

The Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Commission will formulate policies, plans and strategic direction on annual evaluation of the project to sustain the interest of tourists and provide feedback to local stakeholders as inputs for their tourism development programs. —/FPL (FREEMAN)

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