By JADE LOPEZ, Reporter
INDUSTRY leaders in the country’s tourism sector highlighted viable business opportunities for local entrepreneurs who want to capitalize on the burgeoning growth of Cebu’s tourism sector.
Tour operators, events management services, language schools, souvenir shops, consumable souvenir items including the repackaging of local pastries and delicacies are among the attractive ventures in tourism-related small and medium scale businesses as they require minimal capital investments, said Tourism Secretary Ace Durano.
“As long as you have the creativity and skill, you don’t need to have much capital to put up a business that will benefit the whole industry,” he said, hinting that investments in tourism is not only limited to establishments of hotels and resorts.
He suggested locals with tour operating capabilities may form a consortium to develop creative tourism packages that will cater to foreign travelers.
Alice Queblatin, former president of the Cebu Association of Tour Operators said while there is no lack of tour operators in the province, there is a need for “novel ideas” to market Cebu as a leisure destination, apart from its rich cultural heritage.
Durano added events management services will soon be a hit as he foresees the influx of meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) to Cebu.
Tourism Undersecretary Phineas Alburo echoed Durano, saying Cebu lacks local events organizers catering to the international Mice market, as most of them come from Metro Manila.
English-as-a-second-language (ESL) schools are another viable investment opportunities, Alburo said, as the country continues to become a training ground for Koreans, Japanese and Chinese to enhance their English proficiency.
Both Durano and Alburo were one in saying that souvenir shops will again be mushrooming in key tourism spots around the province.
For souvenir delicacies and pastries, in particular, Durano recommended for the repackaging of these products.
“For tourists who are frequenting the province, they see the same gift item year after year,” he commented.
He cited the usual packaging of well-known Cebuano delicacy Otap, for example, can be too bulky for foreigners.
“If they can repackage where each piece of Otap is wrapped individually similar to chocolate bars, then I think it’s good for foreigners,” he added.