Despite rise in COVID-19 cases, Cebu welcomes Luzon tourists

Lorraine Ecarma
Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia says the move aims to revive the province’s economy

The province of Cebu will continue to market its Suroy-Suroy Sugbo tourism packages to Luzon residents despite the rise in COVID-19 cases in the region.

According to Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia in a virtual presser on March 31, in lieu of tourists from the “NCR Plus” bubble, the provincial government will instead target tourists from neighboring Luzon provinces for the relaunch of Suroy-suroy Sugbo. 

Essential travel ra’y gi-allow (Only essential travel is allowed [in locked down regions]). Which means, it practically rules out tourism or tourist-related activities or travel from ‘NCR Plus.’ However, other provinces are still on MGCQ, like for example Pampanga, and kana nga (that) corridor all the way to Ilocos,” Garcia said. 

This, she said, was decided with the concurrence of representatives from the Department of Tourism and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

“We met with them and we are looking at promoting the Suroy-suroy usa (first) – while ‘NCR Plus’ are on lockdown, or are on ECQ – nga i-promote nato ang (that we promote) Suroy-suroy for those that are not on ECQ na provinces via Clark,” the Cebu governor said. 

Suroy-suroy Sugbo is the signature tourism program from Garcia’s past administrations. It takes domestic and foreign visitors on a caravan to scenic spots within Cebu province’s cities and municipalities. This program was first put to a halt amid the pandemic’s quarantine restrictions.

Suroy-suroy was then relaunched in March, offering four tourism packages targeted to domestic tourists from outside and within Cebu island. 

This, Garcia justified, is all in an effort to revive the province’s economy.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, April 4, the province’s count of active cases of COVID-19 rose to 1,410. In total, Cebu province has recorded 13,354 cases of the coronavirus disease while its recoveries stand at 11,370. –