Cebu’s tourism sites reopen after 4 months of closure
Jessa Mae H. Miranda (The Freeman) - August 1, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Tourism sites in Cebu province were finally reopened yesterday after over four months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The reopening of tourist attractions kicked off with the famous whale shark watching in Barangay Tan-awan, southern town of Oslob.

Governor Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia led the tourist attractions’ reopening, which aims to revive the local economy crippled by the health crisis.

“Dili lang kinabuhi, lakip usab ang panginabuhi. It changed the lives of the people of Oslob. We have vastly improved people’s lives, including (230) boatmen,” she said.

Mark Renon, president of the Tan-awan Oslob Sea Warden and Fishermen Association, thanked Garcia for reopening the whale shark watching activity.

“Dako kaayo mi’g pasalamat ni Governor Gwen nga gitagaan mi niya’g chance sa panahon sa pandemya. Dako kaayo mi’g kawad-on sa among panginabuhian,” he said.

Most towns and cities in the province rely on tourism as their main economic driver.

Oslob, for one, lost over P30 million in revenues after tourists were barred from seeing its famed attraction, the whale sharks, in compliance with government protocols in the fights against COVID-19.

Garcia said the province will limit the number of visitors in keeping with the measures against COVID-19. For instance, whale shark watching is limited to 1,000 tourists per day from the usual 2,000 tourists daily.

However, no walk-in guests will be allowed in all travel destinations in the province to contain COVID-19 transmission.

Tourists are required to register through the centralized online portal, discover.cebu.gov.ph, and to pay the necessary fee through money transfer, e-wallet service, and other cashless payment options.

Garcia earlier clarified that only local tourists from areas in the province included in the community general community quarantine (MGCQ) zone are the ones who are eligible to take part in these tourism activities.

“Magkuyog kita sa pagbuhi balik sa atong ekonomiya, pabuhi balik sa Sugbo,” she said.

Cebu province, except for the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion and the city of Talisay that shall remain under the general community quarantine, was placed under MGCQ.

Present also in the launching of the reopening of tourism activities were Second District Board Member Edsel Galeos and Tata Salvador; mayors of Oslob, Dalaguete and Cordova towns; Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Asteria Caberde; and officials of the Department of Tourism, Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Industry Authority.

Today, the Provincial Task Force is also set to launch the diving and island hopping in the municipality of Moalboal. — KQD (FREEMAN)

PANDEMIC TOURISM
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