More than just going to a new place and engaging in the sights and activities, tourism is actually more about how people make you feel and vice versa—resulting in the formal bonds established as a result of that experience between the visitors and the visited.
One can ask almost any tourist on their most memorable aspect of their visit and the answer will always be their experiences with the locals as the highlight of their stay.
The natural warmth and friendliness of the Filipinos is indeed infectious, and so are the smiles and upbeat attitude of our persona.
“Tourism is about creating the best experience for visitors, whether they be first-timers or repeat visitors. It’s about first-hand contact with the locals who are truly representative of that immediate place. Result is the creation of unforgettable ties which last for many years,” declared Central Visayas Regional Director Catalino Chan during the inauguration of the Travel Catalogue International Expo held at the Ayala Center Cebu.
The three-day travel expo featured over 70 tourism-related exhibitors composed of regional tourism councils, tour operators, hotels, and other stakeholders who encourage more domestic travel to known and upstart destinations nationwide.
The speaker also dwelt on the importance of human touch as superior over the presence of manmade infrastructure, posh accommodations, and fancy hardware.
“You can design and build a great place. But it takes people to make it a reality. Be the place where the happiest people on earth are present. These words were uttered by no less than Walt Disney,” Chan proclaimed.
He likewise urged the audience to preserve the natural tourism jewels such as the mountains and the beaches so future generations may also benefit from their assets and preserve these for their future descendants.
Chan pointed out that the Cebu experience must be replicated and maintained to ensure that repeat visitors are a common occurrence and that they will spread the word to family and friends so more will know of Cebu and her attractions.
On industry developments, the regional director lauded the fact the Cebu now has 26 international fights a week and more foreign airlines are expected to set up shop at the Mactan airport.
Among the newer flights, he cited that China Eastern Airlines established the Cebu- Wuhan flight last January. Other airlines included Air Asia’s Wuzi-Cebu flight and Cebu-Guangzhou; Vanilla Air’s Narita-Cebu; Philippine Airline’s Cebu-Clark, Cebu-Guangzhou, Cebu-Caticlan, Tagbilaran-Cagayan, and Tagbilaran-Bacolod-Cebu.
During the expo, Chan congratulated the exhibitors and wished them all the best as the pubic flocked to the booths and inquiries piled up re flight schedules, tour packages, and hotel bookings in preparation for the summer holidays.
By RICHARD RAMOS