Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia expects more groups and companies joining the “Suroy-Suroy Sugbo” package tours, seeing this as a way to revive the local tourism industry.
Suroy-Suroy is the banner tourism program of the provincial government which started in 2005.
Garcia made such a call in this town during the three-day escapade of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL)-Cebu in northern Cebu.
“I am hoping that this will become a trendsetter.”
“I am hoping that this will become a trendsetter. May other groups and companies follow suit so that we will add to what is now the ever-increasing number of local tourists going around the province of Cebu,” the lady governor told the over 100 councilors from the southern municipalities of Cebu, who were touring around the northern towns.
She thanked the PCL-Cebu for supporting the provincial government’s efforts to revive the island’s tourism-reliant economy by embarking on this three-day escapade.
Garcia said the Capitol’s efforts to reopen tourism activities around the island will continue moving forward in a move to regain the livelihoods and incomes of the locals.
“Our economy is back and it is showing good signs of recovery. Who else will be helping Cebu except us Cebuanos?” she said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Garcia has been going around the province to reopen tourism sites since the middle of last year, a few months into the pandemic, in a bold move to resuscitate the livelihood of the people.
She shared that she saw for herself how the pandemic greatly damaged Cebu’s tourism business as a whole, thus giving her more compelling reason to lead the island into the path of recovery.
“This is the way we’re doing it. In the doom and gloom and despite those who continue to hammer fear, it seems that in the entire country right now, the one bright spot that is giving hope is the province of Cebu,” Garcia said.
Benjun Mondigo, mayor of the northern town of Medellin, shared her optimistic view, saying that tourism, being a great equalizer, deserves the government’s priority in the recovery efforts.
During PCL-Cebu guests’ visit to the Bamboo Forest in Medellin, Mondigo boasted about his town’s famous tourism sites, such as the Aisle of Medellin and Bamboo Forest which rose to popularity at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We consider COVID as an opportunity for our tourism promotion.”
“Here in Medellin, we consider COVID as an opportunity for our tourism promotion. The Bamboo Forest was born in the time of COVID,” he said.
The Bamboo Forest, which most netizens liken to the bamboo forest of Japan’s Kyoto, has been getting attention from local tourists because of the magnificent “zen” sight it offers.
Mondigo cited the “good effects” of Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program to tourism revival efforts, expressing his support to the efforts of the provincial government in promoting the pride and beauty of the different towns in Cebu.
For his part, Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura was also glad to note that because of the Capitol’s continued efforts in tourism revival, his town is slowly seeing an increasing number of tourists flocking here.
Shimura said that due to the pandemic, Daanbantayan had lost about P16 million in local income when tourism closed last year.
Diving, which is a famous tourist draw to the town’s Malapascua Island, is a great source of revenue to the local government here.
As tourism activities in his town have started to pick up, Shimura is optimistic that the local government will see its income also recovering moving forward.
Garcia assured that Cebu’s tourism sites will continue to implement the minimum health protocols to ensure a balance of economy and health amid the lingering pandemic.
Meanwhile, councilors kicked off their northern Cebu tour on June 22.
On the first day, they visited the Papakit’s Marina and Fishing Lagoon in the town of Liloan and the famous St. James the Apostle Church and San Guillermo Parish Church in the municipalities of Compostela and Catmon, respectively.
On the second day of their northern escapade, they visited the Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Shrine and Plaza in Bogo City, Medellin Dock Side, and the Bamboo Forest.
PCL-Cebu capped off the last day of their Suroy Suroy Sugbo tour at the magnificent Cebu Safari Adventure Park in the town of Carmen.