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Cebu News

DOT-7: Interesting time for tourism

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  It’s an interesting time for the tourism sector with the new administration coming, says Department of Tourism (DOT)-7 Regional Director Shahlimar Tamano.

“It is a very interesting time for everyone because we have a change of administration. When I say change of administration I am not talking about politics, I’m talking about tourism,”

Tamano said during the blessing and soft opening of Parklane Bohol Resort and Spa in Anda, Bohol.

Tamano explained that the President is the head of tourism in the country. Come June 30 the country’s 17th president—presumptive president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.—will assume office.

“Ang Presidente and mu-define kung unsay ipadagan sa turismo sa atong nasud parehas sa siyay magpadagan sa atong foreign policy, siyay padagan sa atong defense…so sya,“ said Tamano.

Some local government units will also have their new sets of officials starting on June 30. Bohol, for one, will have a new governor after incumbent Governor Arthur Yap was defeated by governor-elect Erico Aristotle Aumentado.

According to Tamano, the local officials also serve as the head of tourism in his/her province, city or town.

“As part of our industry, we work with our political leaders…The most powerful person in the province is the governor, sa city or municipalities, it’s the mayor, and the barangay captain in the barangay. Dili masabtan sa atong mga amigo sa industriya…usahay ihatag tanan sa amo sa regional office,” he said.

Tamano reminded the local officials of the Supreme Court ruling in the Mandanas case.

“The Mandanas ruling, gihatag na sa tanan sa atong local government ang atong puder bahin sa turismo, bahin sa karsada, sa peace and order, sa education, ug uban pa,” explained.

With Bohol moving very fast as compared to 10 years ago, Tamano said he is expecting the operations of Bohol international airport to be privatized like in Cebu and Clark.

“I hope the operations of the new international airport will be moved fast to the private contractor because that is the trend right now in the country following the Mactan and Clark model, ang magpadagan gyud is ang private group… Why? Because in our experience, when it is run by a private company…this private company because they will do more improvement and market Bohol to the world… invite foreign airlines…only way to recoup the investments that they already spent to the airports. The government does not have the money to market the airports,” said Tamano.

Tamano, however, said the DOT-7 will continue to promote Central Visayas with active and healthy lifestyle activities as well as the religious side of it thru pilgrimage tours.

He is hoping to bring back the 4.5 million foreign tourist arrivals before the pandemic in 2019. The tourism sector is one of the most affected industries of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) has assured the security of tourists and travelers in Cebu City.

Police Lt. Colonel Maria Theresa Macatangay, information officer of CCPO, said they have deployed enough personnel in all the tourist destinations in the city. Macatangay said they are anticipating the influx of tourists beating the summer vacation.

"I can say na here in Cebu dili gyud angay nga ika-kulba or ika-worry sa atong mga turista na mu-arrive diri kay as we all know mao man ni sya stong door, gawas ug pasulod, ang Cebu City," she said.

Although she is confident of the city’s peace and order situation, Macatangay has called on the public to report any suspicious activities during their visit to the city.

Macatangay also encouraged travelers to keep the contact numbers of each police station in the city. — Iris Hazel Mascardo, FPL (FREEMAN)

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