This alluring province known for the “Queen City of the South” may yet also earn the moniker, “Seoul of the Philippines,” as it welcomes more and more visitors from South Korea looking for relaxation and recreation.
Department of Tourism (DOT) officials attributed the constantly increasingly influx of Koreans to Cebu’s richly-diverse tourist attractions, including world-class beach resorts, exotic cultural festivities, well-preserved historical sites, and authentic Filipino cuisine.
DOT-Region 7 Director Shalihmar Hofer Tamano also credits the peace and order situation, improved connectivity and the renowned Filipino hospitality for the Cebu tourism’s boom.
“Like what Secretary Wanda Teo says, more than anything else, it’s the unique and genuine Filipino hospitality and the Cebuano charm that attract Koreans, Japanese and Chinese visitors to the region,” said Tamano, after a get-together with officials of the Korean Consulate and members of the Korea Travel Agencies Association (KOTAA).
During the meeting with Korean Consul-General Oh Sung- Yong, Tamano assured of constant coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the military authorities to ensure the safety of the burgeoning number of Korean visitors in the area, particularly in the provincial capital Cebu City.
Tamano also acknowledged the indefatigable efforts DOT-Seoul Office in promoting Cebu and other Philippine destinations, particularly at the annual Korea Travel Fair (KOTFA).
In 2016, Tamano said over 840,000 tourists from South Korea arrived in the region, mostly staying in Cebu’s islands including Bantayan, Mactan, Camotes, Oslob and Malapascua, as well as Cebu City, the Philippines’ cradle of Christianity.
The DOT director said there is a possibility that Korean arrivals in the province might have reached one million in 2017, even as data are still being carefully collated.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Cebu would soon be known as Seoul of the Philippines, Koreans’ home away from home,” he said.
Tamano also noted that DOT’s “holistic approach,” combining eco-agri-faith tourism, has attracted an unbelievable number of foreign, balikbayan and local visitors.
“This year’s Sinulog festival alone drew hundreds of thousands of international and domestic tourists into Cebu City,” said Tamano.