Durano maps out tourism recovery program for Cebu

CEBU CITY — If voted as governor in the province of Cebu, Ace Durano vowed to replicate the program that he implemented when he was the country’s tourism secretary.

Durano, Bakud’s gubernatorial bet, said the Cebu Priority Recovery (CPR) program will help revive the ailing tourism industry in the province.

As secretary of the Department of Tourism, Durano implemented the Grassroots Entrepreneurs for Ecotourism (GREET) program in 2005. The programs gave grants between P50,000 and P100,000 to individuals or groups who can present a viable plan to develop an eco-tourism site.

Durano wants to replicate that for CPR but is looking to award grants as much as P1 million.

“The Cebu Priority Recovery Program hopes to bring back foreign tourists safely to Cebu at the earliest time to jump start the economy. We have discussions about this with the different business groups and they are fully behind the goal. There are existing models we can apply here so we can achieve this without compromising the health and safety of everyone,” Durano, who served as DOT secretary from 2004 to 2010, said in a statement.

Durano, whose term as DOT secretary saw a 53.6 percent increase in tourist arrivals in the country, said that aside from individuals, local government units can apply for grants under the CPR.

"We have so many potential eco-tourism sites in Cebu. Dili lang ang mga waterfalls, apil na ang mga hiking trails, mountain trails or camping spots. This is not just for new players who can come up with new ideas to help tourism in Cebu but the current players also who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Durano. “We know tourism in the Philippines, especially in Cebu, has really struggled due to the lack of incoming flights and I know this program will really give them a much needed financial boost.”

Durano said this is a worthwhile investment since aside from generating jobs to those directly involved, this will have a trickle down effect and benefit other players of the tourism industry, farmers, fishermen, souvenir producers and sellers, transport, hotels, resorts and restaurants.