CEBU CITY -– Booming Cebu still needs additional rooms in preparation for the effects of the open skies policy despite the numerous real estate projects being constructed to cater to Cebu’s growing tourism arrivals.
Former Department of Tourism Undersecretary Phineas Alburo said that the open skies policy translates to more air seats and more rooms.
”Cebu, being one of the preferred tourism destinations, should prepare for this opportunity. It should provide more rooms to cater to more tourists,” he said.
On March 14, President Benigno S. Aquino III signed Executive Order 29, calling for an open skies policy that grants additional rights to foreign air lines.
The strategy is meant to encourage competition and spur the growth of tourism, trade and investments in the country’s tourist hubs and newly developing economic centers outside of the country’s capital.
Although Cebu’s tourism is not always as its peak months all year round, Alburo challenged the industry players, especially those who own hotel and condo-hotels (condotel), to tap the domestic market when there is a drop in foreign arrivals, to cope with the competition.
Reports from the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) 7 show that tourism arrivals in Central Visayas reached 2.3 million last year, 1.4 million of whom were local tourists and 870,634 were foreign tourists.
The Neda report said tourism arrivals grew by 7.4 percent, which was faster than the 3.9 percent growth in 2009.
Cebu alone recorded almost 1.8 million arrivals last year, a 9.3 percent increase from 2009’s 1.6 million arrivals.