The provincial government of Cebu has recently reopened the tourism industry in the town of Oslob which marks the start of the gradual recovery of one of the hardest-hit industries by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Oslob is known as known as one of the areas in the country where tourists can engage in whale shark watching activities.

“We are hopeful to revive the tourism industry in the province. Let us join together to revive our economy,” Governor Gwen Garcia said in Cebuano during the ceremonial launching attended by various tourism stakeholders in Barangay Tan-awan, one of the famous tourist destinations in Cebu.

“We will ensure that health protocols are in place.”

Among the tourism activities the province now allows include whale shark watching, snorkeling, trekking, diving, and island-hopping.

“We were finding ways to revive our tourism industry. We were doing consultations. We will ensure that health protocols are in place,” Garcia said, noting that guidelines and protocols for tourism operations have been laid out for implementation across the province.

The lady governor, together with Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas Director Shalimar Tamano, has been consulting with resort owners in southern Cebu, which is home to most of the famous tourist outdoor activities in the province.

The town of Oslob, she said, is famous for its whale shark watching, which has incurred millions of revenue losses for the past months due to the community quarantine.

Garcia said tourism activities must reopen even as the fight against the COVID-19 crisis continues. The province of Cebu has been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) since July and will persist through August.

“Reopening the tourism industry in the province will help bring back lost jobs.”

Under MGCQ, non-essential work gatherings and leisure activities are allowed so long as social distancing measures and established safety protocols are followed.

She said reopening the tourism industry in the province will help bring back the lost jobs of Cebuanos, particularly the boatmen and tour guides, who depend on tourism activities as their livelihood.

As tourism reopens, establishments would still have to limit their accommodations to 50 percent of their original capacity.

Garcia also hailed the tourism activities of Oslob that have substantially uplifted the lives of the town’s residents, saying that many families have sent their children to different universities in Cebu, had their homes renovated, while many others can now buy cars.

She prodded the Cebuanos to live with the new normal, with COVID-19 being part of the daily threats that should be managed, rather than making it a reason to stop the livelihood of the people.

“Are we going to open the economy when we have zero COVID-19 cases? Let me tell everyone here and now, accept it as a way of life, COVID-19 is here,” Garcia told the officials and stakeholders present in the opening program. 


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