Cebu to reopen borders for residents in Central Visayas
CEBU CITY—In a bid to revive Cebu’s tourism, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia plans to reopen the province’s borders for tourists from Central Visayas.
“It’s a travel bubble for Cebu, that’s for sure. You are allowed to enter Cebu but it may not be vice-versa,” she said in a media interview.
Garcia said she would meet with the Provincial Tourism Task Force to come up with guidelines that could be implemented in the next two weeks.
The governor was also entertaining the possible entry of tourists from Metro Manila. “Central Visayas first. From there, we will see what will happen and if we can expand soon. Let’s do it gradually,” Garcia said.
Central Visayas, which is composed of the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor, and Negros Oriental, has been placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), the most relaxed quarantine mode, until Dec. 31.
Garcia earlier scheduled a meeting with the governors in the region on Dec. 3 to discuss interprovince travel for tourists, but this did not push through.
“We just have to move it, but I have already decided … If the provinces are closing themselves on interprovince tourism but they will allow people to come to us, then we will establish guidelines,” she added.
According to Efren Carreon, regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority, Central Visayas has lost $713 million, or at least P35.5 billion, in tourism revenue due to quarantine restrictions and border closures brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Forgone income Garcia has been vocal in reviving Cebu’s tourism industry, which bore the brunt of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
In October, Cebu and the Visayas islands were named Top Island in Asia, according to the 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards of Condé Nast Traveler, a luxury and lifestyle magazine that features destination guides and others in the world.
Cebu and the Visayas got a score of 95.73, outranking Sri Lanka; Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand; Palawan in southern Luzon; Siargao Island in Mindanao; and Boracay, also in the Visayas, which was listed as a separate entry. INQ
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