Great deals via ‘I Love Cebu’

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    Sumilon Island. (Photo by Ferdinand Edralin)

    Thru the “I Love Cebu” campaign, more Filipinos now have the chance to avail of great deals on hotel accommodation, food and dining outlets, tours and other travel packages from more than 50 tourism establishments in Cebu.

    Tourism stakeholders of Cebu, the Queen City of the South and among the country’s top destination, are offering domestic travelers accommodation, transportation and tour packages at best available rates as they launched the “I Love Cebu” campaign.

    Customers can purchase vouchers from participating hotels, resorts and tour operators through the official site, https://traveloco.ph/ilovecebu, from March 21 to April 30.

    Vouchers are valid until April 30, 2022, subject to terms and conditions per participating establishment.

    Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT), said before the pandemic struck, Cebu was the second most visited destination by foreign tourists surpassed only by Boracay.

    In 2019, Puyat said 3.4 million foreign and 3.2 million domestic tourists visited Cebu.

    The province’s tourism industry, just like other destinations, suffered a great slump last year as various stages of lockdowns were implemented to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    But tourism stakeholders in the province said that the time has arrived to welcome back more domestic travelers to this beautiful part of Central Visayas.

    Thanks to the “I Love Cebu” campaign, more Filipinos now have the chance to avail of great deals on hotel accommodation, food and dining outlets, tours and other travel packages from more than 50 tourism establishments.

    These great deals, complemented by the warm and friendly hospitality Cebuanos are famous for, are aimed at enticing domestic travelers to experience the many wonders of the province, from excellent beach and diving destinations, magnificent historical cultural landmarks, to its exciting and dynamic culinary scene.

    Margie Munsayac, one of the core committee members of I Love Cebu, chairperson of Cebu’s Hotel Sales and Marketing Association and vice president for sales and marketing at Bluewater Resorts, said the online sale is just the start of the campaign, and tourists can expect more activities to be launched in the future.

    Munsayac invites everyone to once again walk along Cebu’s pristine shores, bask in the unparalleled sunsets and sunrises, all at reasonable prices, and feel the love that is truly unique in Cebu.

    Puyat, however, reminded everyone to “promote and ensure a safe, responsible and sustainable tourism.”

    Alfred Reyes, newly elected president of Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu Inc. and general manager of bai Hotel Cebu, said the project also highlights Cebu’s unique selling points – its history, culture, good food, beautiful beaches and vibrant marine life.

    “Revitalizing tourism activities has become one of the primary concerns,” Reyes said.

    “In the short run, domestic tourism is expected to play a vital role in supporting the initial recovery phase to travel – the very goal of the campaign.”

    Shalimar Tamano, DOT-Central Visayas regional director, said travelers can expect huge discounts from hotels, resorts and tour operators in Cebu.

    Tamano said DOT Central Visayas has more products and marketing development programs this year. They aslo expedited the accreditation of tourism-related establishments, with 184 accredited establishments since the implementation of the DOT’s online accreditation system.

    Cindi King-Chan, chair of Lapu-Lapu City Tourism, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission, said reviving tourism takes a concerted action and collaborative effort.

    “Apart from the sun, sea and sand as attractions, we need to cultivate the dying local industries unique in Cebu,” Chan added, such as the famous guitar-making in Lapu-Lapu, delectable lechon in Talisay and mouthwatering chicharon in Carcar.

    She said opening doors to tourism will create a ripple effect as it also revives small- and medium-scale enterprises, spur economic activity, generate the much-needed revenue and provide employment to thousands of displaced workers.

    Quoting Jonas Cortes, mayor of Mandaue City, Hazel Tamondong, the city’s tourism officer, encourages everyone to help jumpstart the recovery and revive the popularity of Cebu.

    Edgardo Labella, mayor of Cebu City, lauded the collaboration among tourism stakeholders to come up with effective ways and programs to promote tourism.

    Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, chief operating officer of the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), mentioned the strategies this year: survive together, sustain pivot and safely steer Cebu’s tourism recovery.

    TPB has also adapted SmarTourism, Partnerships as Pathways, and Safe Bangon Turismo as the strategic marketing directions.