Marking the pinnacle of this year’s Tourism Summit, held last August 11at Sky Hall Seaside Cebu – SMX Convention Center, SM Seaside, Cebu City are business leaders and tourism players with over 300 attendees provided an avenue to learn, interact and network with the industry’s stakeholders.
Jumpstarting an exciting line-up of topics for the summit was no less than Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary and concurrent Director for Regional Office 7 Shahlimar Hofer Tamano, who presented updates on programs and activities for the revival and recovery of the region’s tourism industry: “In the past few years, the regional office has worked on recalibrating and strengthening the region’s tourism products and offerings through the creation and development of new tourism circuits, activities aimed towards the development of sustainable, resilient and inclusive tourism products, ensuring that benefits of tourism are brought to the grassroots level, that there’s equal access to opportunities, and safe tourism experience for all.”
Relaying a strong resolve to improve the country’s standing in the global tourism arena, newly installed DOT Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco delivered an inspiring Keynote Speech: “Presently, the Philippines ranks at number six in the ASEAN and number 75 in the world in terms of tourism statistics. But considering the beauty and the quality of our natural offerings, as well as the talent and warmth of our people, we’re simply not satisfied with regaining our number six position and number 75 global position. We want our standing to far exceeds its present state.”
Shedding light on trends in the travel and tourism industry were Mr. Paolo Campillo, General Manager of FILI Hotel – NUSTAR Resort and Casino, who zeroed in on the rise of local hospitality and how FILI recognizes the need to create a unique brand experience for guests: “Success for us will be about creating a space which engages the local community and supports local causes, local artists; engaging the senses to create travel memories that will connect with our guests so they come back and they become our brand ambassadors; and finally, really, it is the service of the Filipino people”; and Mr. Marvin Villaruz, Director of Sales and Marketing for Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort, who emphasized the importance of taking care of employees as a key factor in the tourism industry’s road to recovery: “As for Sheraton, we always focus on people first, we take care of our people. And that, I think, is our message for our recovery… It’s the people that we need to take care of first.”
Moderating the panel discussion on Regenerative Tourism by Cebu’s legendary host Jude Bacalso, hand-picke industry leaders shared their personal experiences and insights in various areas of tourism: Sports Tourism (Marc Laurenze Celis, General Manager and Managing Partner of Spartan Race Philippines), Cultural Heritage Tourism (Hon. Jocelyn “Joy” Pesquera, Cebu City Councilor and Chairperson of the Cebu City Tourism Commission), Medical Tourism (Dr. Shahana Pearl Uy-Ang, Owner of Pearl Medical Aesthetics and Laser Center), Agri/Food Tourism (Gumero “Mhy” Cogal, Owner of Mhy J’s Refreshment and Dragon Fruit Farm), and Eco-Tourism (Edwin Vincent Ortiz, CEO of EVO Ventures Group – EVO Nature Camp). To cite an inspiring quote from Mr. Ortiz on how these tourism initiatives add value to local host communities: “We’re very far from being done from what we’re doing, but at least we made a big step in helping promote tourism in the area and helping the neighbors, and helping or promoting the environment as well. So let us do our part in making the world a beautiful place to live in.” In an effort to complement the private sector’s initiatives, Hon. Joy Pesquera expressed that “During the pandemic, we did not stop, but instead came up with new programs. We have expanded our programs to harness our resources, as well as our opportunities.”
Highlighting Vivant Foundation’s CSR journey , Executive Director of and SAVP for Corporate Communications of Vivant Corporation, Shem Jose Garcia, shared their flagship program “Project Liadlaw”, an initiative focused on providing energy to off-grid schools here he constantly reminding everyone that “Corporate social responsibility is not about competing, it’s about working together for the betterment of everyone.”
Moreover, discussing on Sustainability for Tourism and Business Success, Cebu Pacific Air’s Vice President for Marketing and Customer Experience, Candice Iyog, discussed how the airlines gear up in supporting the Philippine tourism industry with its company’s best practices and mantra “Accessibility and affordability” which Cebu Pac being proud of.
Consequently, connecting digitally and transforming tourism into the digital future covers Converge ICT Solutions’ Regional Sales Head-Enterprise Visayas Mindanao, Ms. Christine Marie Gohetia pointed out that “Internet connectivity has become a landscape; it has become the way of life. Digital is not the future anymore; it is the NOW.”
Furthering transactions via online open doors for cashless payments. Carl Bryan Enerio, Regional Business Lead-Enterprise Sales of Maya Business, shared the ease and speed of transacting online. “We partnered with merchants or business entities for acceptance. Regardless if it’s a QR code or even if it’s a card payment, Maya would accept all business digital. Maya is about the convenience of acceptance. We don’t compete with other mobile wallets; it’s about providing an aggravated solution for merchants.”
Bridging the gap between tourism and technology revitalize the presence of PLDT through Kent dela Calzada, PLDT Enterprise’s Head of Sales-Visayas, and Ryan Tan-Yu, Chairman of Mata Technologies Inc., both shared ideas on Harnessing Technology for Tourism. Dela Calzada effectively set the tone for his presentation: “The internet has become a part of our lives. Almost everything now is at the tip of our fingers. We can work, shop, watch movies, access educational materials, and connect anywhere in the world no matter the distance, the time difference. We live and breathe the internet.”
Mr. Tan, further added “We would like to usher the advent of technology into the tourism industry responsibly and that is through focusing on two problems that exist on opposite ends of the tourism spectrum and everything in between. These maps that we present will help start a new small business and help the local community.”
Creating value for the properties and the remembering the experience they have are our main concern. General Manager of Quest Hotel and Conference Center Cebu, Mia Singson- Leon, shared her thoughts that “Sustainability for us is about It is about being able to successfully operate, co-exist and continue to thrive for a very long time. It is about protecting what you have in your company. It is about protecting your capitals.”
Wrapping up the forum, CBM 2022 Tourism Chairperson, Kate Dychangco-Anzani, , expressed the team’s gratitude and appreciation to all the speakers, sponsors and attendees during her Closing Remarks.
CBM 2022 is made possible through the support of its partners. Event Partner: Department of Trade & Industry – Central Visayas; Presentors: Filinvest Land Inc., PLDT Enterprise, Smart Communications, Inc. and NUSTAR Resort and Casino; Co-Presentors: Cebu Landmasters, Inc., Maya Business, IPI and Angkas; Platinum Sponsors: Arthaland Corporation, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Pacific Air, Converge ICT Solutions Inc., Eastern Communications, Qualfon Philippines and SB Finance; Event Sponsors: SM Seaside City Cebu, VIVANT Energy, Golden Prince Hotel & Suites, Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, Cebu Safari & Adventure Park, UNISOL, The Travel Club, Xeleqt and Mataverse. Prime Media Partners: CDN Digital, SunStar Cebu, The Freeman, Sugbo.ph; Media Partners: Alcordo Advertising, BIGSEED Public Relations & Events, iNews.Ph, BizHero, RMA NEWS and Cebu Online News Press Corps.
The campaign to revitalize tourism kicked off with the symbolic bridge ride over the iconic Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) in April 28; an interactive and engaging Tourism Round Table Discussion during the Cebu Travel Catalogue In-ternational held at Ayala Center Cebu in June 10: and the GO Race Cebu: The Great Safari Experi-ence last July 30th, where 1,200 runners took part in a unique trail trace at the Cebu Safari and Ad-venture Park in Carmen.
CCCI and the dynamic working team behind CBM 2022 have geared up to unveil exciting programs and activities on its milestone 26th year. Keep posted for a series of events under Tourism, ICT-BPM, Entrepreneurship and Creative Entertainment spread out from June to November 2022.
For more information, visit www.cebuchamber.org, and CBM’s official Facebook and Instagram pages: facebook.com/CebuBusinessMonth and instagram.com/cbm.ph.