CEBU CITY, Cebu, Feb. 21 (PIA) -- The Department of Tourism Central Visayas (DOT-7) on Feb.18 has taken a major step towards the full reopening of the region’s tourism industry two years after since the pandemic has severely affected local and global tourism.
In reopening the tourism industry, DOT-7 along with the organizer, MyEventology, formally kicked off the 7th edition of the International Travel Festival (ITF) on Feb. 18 at the Gallery of the Ayala Center Cebu.
With the theme “It’s Time to Travel”, the three-day travel festival served as the biggest travel trade fair in the region which highlighted and promoted the culture tourism products of the region’s four provinces amid the pandemic.
This is also the first international travel event after the Philippine government announcement that the country will now accept foreign tourists.
The event featured 102 exhibit booths with 60 participating companies rom across the country to showcase their different tourism products.
Over 100 hotels, resorts, and travel agencies also joined the festival and offered deals and huge discounts during the three-day event.
Among the major industry players who participated in the said event are Bai Hotel, Quest Hotel, Gold Berry Suites & Hotel, The Bellevue Resort – Bohol, UHX Travel Central, and Turkish Airlines Cebu.
The tourism department said the event is a great way to attract both local and foreign tourists especially now that the country has opened its borders to fully vaccinated international tourists and Cebu province, in particular, has allowed the entry of foreigners to reboot its tourism industry.
DOT-7 Regional Director Shalimar Hofer Tamano led the opening ceremony of the ITF along with several industry players, tourism officers from different local government units, and other tourism stakeholders.
In his message, Tamano said the event is a crucial move for the region’s tourism industry in gaining back its momentum towards a full recovery.
“It’s been two years that the whole world missed traveling in Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor which is really the tourism hub in the country. And after two years of having been virtually home-bound, ITF 2022’s theme is appropriate. Indeed, it’s time to travel, experience more of our mountains, farms and lush forests, our beaches and the sea," he said.
According to DOT-7, there were 4.5 million foreign tourists who visited the tourist destinations and stayed in accommodation establishments in Central Visayas in 2019.
However, for the past two years, tourist traffic in the region has been severely affected due to the travel restrictions. (RGC/PIA7)