The Suroy Suroy sa Sugbo will continue this month with a south Cebu trip, this time without Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia leading it.
The tourism caravan will be held Jan. 23 to 25 or three days after the Sinulog parade.
“I won’t oppose anything which is intended to promote Cebu,” said Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale, who announced the resumption of the tourism caravan yesterday after meeting with town mayors.
Instead of renting commercial tourist buses for the three-day tour, the Capitol wants to use the 24 brand-new airconditioned tourist buses earlier bought by the province for the program.
“Expenses will be kept to a minimum this time around,” said Magpale.
Of the 22 towns in the original itinerary, 12 confirmed that it would participate and three more still have to reply.
“Some local executives said it’s hard to be part of the Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo because of the expenses. I don’t blame them,” Magpale said.
During the stopover in each town, the municipality hosts a welcome fiesta for the guests, who get to sample local delicacies and go sightseeing.
Magpale said this time, however, local students won’t be made to line up on the streets to welcome the visitors as they used to do.
So far, 30 to 40 guests have reserved slots for the pre-paid package tour. A group of 20 to 40 balikbayans from Las Vegas will be joining this trip. Each tour usually brings about 200 guests.
Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy said the Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo program should not be “compulsory” for LGUs.
“We have to consult the LGUs if they can accommodate guests. We encourage participation at a minimum cost. All we want here is to attract tourists,” he said.
Last year, the PB approved an ordinance that made Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo a fixed program with an annual budget and its own commission. The ordinance was sponsored by Sitoy.
Under the ordinance, the board “recognizes the sustainability and effectivity” of the Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo and wants to ensure it continues even “while under different administrations.”
The tourism program was introduced by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2004. It was later closely identified with Governor Garcia, who led the tour bus caravans to the countryside.
The tour showed paying guests rural attractions like churches, nature spots, and beach resorts and a reception in each stopover. /Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol