Condé Nast Traveler recognition will help Visayas tourism to recover — OPAV

Published October 22, 2020, 11:01 AM

by Minerva Newman

CEBU CITY – The Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) said on Thursday that the recognition given to Cebu and the Visayas as the Best Island in Asia in 2020 by Condé Nast Traveler will help boost and revive the tourism sector here.

Cebu and the Visayas were recognized as the top island destination in Asia in the CNTraveler’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards. CNTraveler is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine published by Condé Nast and the magazine invited 600,000 travelers to vote online for the Top Islands in six areas — Asia, Australia and the South Pacific, the Caribbean and the Atlantic, Africa and the Indian Ocean, Europe, and North America.

OPAV Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino said the pandemic has adversely affected the economy of the Visayas and this recognition is a welcome development as some tourist destinations in the Visayas are starting to open up to tourists.

The ban on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic had adverse impact on the economy of Central and Western Visayas, he said, and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in Western Visayas noted that the region could have earned around P19 billion from March 17 to April 30, 2020, when 875,000 tourists were expected have visited the region.

NEDA-7 estimated the foregone revenue for Central Visayas’ tourism sector at US$465 million (PhP23.6 billion) for the first six months of 2020, Dino said.

Tourism has been a major contributor to the economy of the Visayas, Dino said, and this recognition will boost efforts to convince tourists to travel to the various tourist destinations here.

“The recovery of the tourism sector will benefit not only the hotels, resorts, and restaurants, but also the micro, small, and medium enterprises providing support services such as the sea and land transportation firms,” he said.

Dino also said that tourism recovery will also have a major impact on the agriculture sector since the demand for their product will increase once tourists return.  

The Department of Tourism (DOT), in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other national agencies are working hard to ensure health protocols are in place for safe travel amid the continuing threat of COVID-19.

CNTraveler featured various destinations in Cebu such as its pristine beaches, diving sites, the Kawasan Falls in Badian, as among the popular tourist destinations.  According to the CNT article, Cebu draws nearly two million travelers annually for its pristine beaches and diving off the island’s northern coast.  It added that the Spanish and Roman Catholic influences permeate Cebu City, citing the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño which houses a small statue of Christ that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan.

“Cebu has given us plenty of recognition not just in Asia but all around the world. However, there are many more tourism sites that they can visit in the Visayas and I hope other areas in the Visayas, especially major tourist destinations such as Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, will slowly open again to international tourists,” Dino added.