Philippines’ province mulls creation of Tourism Code


CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu provincial board is set to discuss the creation of Tourism Code in an effort to achieve the full potential of tourism and culture in the province.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, chairperson of the committee on tourism and international affairs, said having a Tourism Code would serve as a holistic approach to develop and promote tourism and culture in the province so as to maintain and sustain the momentum of the industry.

“Cebu’s undisputable reputation as the country’s top tourist destination highly demands constancy and sustainability inasmuch as its economic growth depends largely on the vibrancy and dynamism of its local tourism industry especially in the rural areas,” Magpale said in the draft ordinance that she authored.

The draft ordinance was referred to the committee on tourism during the board’s regular session last Monday, April 11. It was co-authored by PB Member Grecilda Sanchez.

Magpale said that the province is considered a premier tourist destination in the country, owing to the rising number of tourists coming in year after year.

According Department of Tourism (DOT) records, Cebu saw a 50 percent increase in tourist arrivals from 2 million in 2013 to 3.02 million in 2014.

The DOT also recorded 2.5 million tourist arrivals in Cebu, both foreign and domestic, from January to October last year.

Among the objectives of the Tourism Code is to strengthen the Provincial Tourism and Heritage Council, create the Cebu Provincial Tourism and Cultural Office, and institutionalize certain programs such as Suroy-Suroy Sugbo.

The Cebu Provincial Tourism and Heritage Council will formulate plans and recommend measures to preserve, enforce and promote Cebuano history, culture and arts, among others.

Magpale said she was also seeking to create a commission to oversee the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program, which was started during the administration of former Gov. Gwen Garcia, that sought to promote local tourist destinations to both domestic and foreign visitors by holding tours every January and April of the year.

“The Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program is considered an effective toll in the promotion of our local industry. There is a need to institutionalize it to ensure its permanence and sustainability as a tourism development program of the provincial government,” the vice governor said.

The Suroy-Suroy Sugbo Commission will formulate policies, plans and strategic direction on annual evaluation of the project to sustain the interest of tourists and provide feedback to local stakeholders as inputs for their tourism development programs.