Cebu City (5 February) -- Cebu takes the global center stage as the chosen venue to host the 6th United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO) Forum where at least 400 members of Congress from at least 100 countries worldwide are expected to attend this coming October.
Tourism Secretary Joseph "Ace" Durano in the 888 News Forum this morning bared to Cebu reporters that China would have bided for the hosting of the 2008 WTO Forum but retracted its intent to give way to the Philippines and instead will host the same event in 2010.
The international tourism forum for parliamentarians held every two years is the first time that will be held outside the country's capital and gives Cebuanos again the opportunity to showcase to the world the natural tourism wonders of the place, according to Durano.
Three important issues will be the major focus of discussion namely climate change, poverty reduction and role of women in tourism.
Dominique Bernadette, UN-WTO Conference Secretariat Chief said Cebu has been chosen as the venue of the international forum because it meets the UN Conference's criteria of certain standards in terms of facilities such as an international air service connectivity which is highly important.
Bernadette added that Cebu being the most favored international tourism destination is also a factor behind the decision as it serves as a role model in giving more awareness to local authorities on their significant role in the development of communities through tourism.
Durano said shaping global tourism needs policy changes and adjustments to have a substantial impact which is basically the essence of the forum but local chief executives likewise have a critical role as they are the ones that implement these policies in the local level.
A technical tour to Bohol is also part of the itinerary to showcase how the local government unit (LGU) of the province managed to balance development and sustained eco-tourism growth together, Durano said.
Bohol is the fastest growing destination in the country because of the efforts of the LGU to strike a balance between development and the preservation of nature, the tourism secretary added.
The WTO Forum is an additional economic activity for Cebu and Bohol on top of what it is enjoying right now, Durano claimed. Cebu and Bohol are the top tourist destinations among foreign visitors.
Tourism Usec. Edu Jarque in the same forum said they together with Bernadette will inspect some top hotels and resorts in Cebu today for the venue of various socials while the group went to Bohol yesterday for an ocular inspection.
The forum will not purely be all work which is where our challenge starts because for the socials, we only have three days for the entire duration of the event to showcase what we have here in Cebu to impress our foreign delegates, Jarque said.
Jarque said they are closely coordinating with the Cebu Tourism Commission for the socials and expressed optimism that Cebu can and will deliver the best for the participants.A post conference tour will also be offered to the delegates if they want to travel anywhere in the country like in Boracay, Palawan, Cagayan, Davao and Manila among other tourist destinations, Durano said. (PIA-Cebu/FCR)