Cebu eyes non-traditional tourists during Sinulog weekend
CEBU CITY, Philippines – This city is preparing for the influx of tourists -- foreign and domestic -- who will attend the Sinulog Festival, the region's biggest annual event, this 2013.
Businessmen are eyeing to grow the number of tourists coming from non-traditional markets like Russia or Europe, Francis Monera, vice president of Visayas at the Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Rappler on January 8.
“These are the markets we are trying to attract because they’re the long-stay, big-spender tourists,” he explained.
They bank on tourists to boost the local economy, explained Prudencio Gesta, president of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"When tourists go to Cebu it follows that they spend for hotel, food, transport, souvenir items or pasalubongs and thus improve the local economy,” Gesta stressed.
The numbers of domestic and foreign visitors are on equal footing, the Department of Tourism (DOT) figures showed. In January 2012, there were 105,079 domestic travellers, while 105,702 were foreign tourists and 1,094 overseas Filipino workers.
The bulk or 65% of foreign guests were East Asian tourists, mostly from South Korea (42,437), Japan (15,459) and China (8,747).
“Domestic travellers have always been a big component of our tourism industry in the Philippines,” said Monera noted.
“There are a lot of mid-size hotels that are springing up all over the city. This will increase the current capacity of Cebu for local tourists,” he added.
In the run up to the festival that will take place on January 18 to 20, hotels are now at 90% occupancy rate , according to the region's DOT officials.
The Sinulog weekend, which will culminate in a grand parade on the last day, or the feast day of Sto. Nino, is the single biggest event that the city's tourism-related businesses and infrastructure prepare for the most.
“Sinulog is the biggest annual event in Cebu which is celebrated religiously in honor of Sto. Nino and street dancing. It’s really an important yearly event for tourism as it attracts so many local and foreign tourists who go to Cebu to pay homage to Sto Nino and witness or join in the street dancing activities," Gesta said.
The event is organised by the Sinulog Foundation Inc. and the Cebu City government with the DOT helping in promotion. – Rappler.com