Philippine tycoon Manuel Panglian commented that Phuket of Thailand should be examined as a role model for Cebu tourism
Mr Pangilinan predicted at a roundtable discussion in Makati, Manlia, that Cebu could make great strides if it could privatise the Mactan international airport and market itself as a hub for easy access to tourist attractions such as Boracay, Bohol and Palawan.
The Inquirer also reported that he compared Cebu with the success of Phuket, saying the island of Mactan had the same potential to attract tourists if only major infrastructure, such as a third bridge to the main island of Cebu is built, and long-term planning is undertaken.
“You need a master plan for the island of Mactan. Why can’t you replicate what Phuket has done? It has its own international airport, it’s self-sustaining.
“It has developed an ecosystem of restaurants, hotels, night markets, entertainment, so [tourists] don’t have to leave the island.”
He said that he had met with Cebu Provincial Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in Manila in May, with whom he discussed “a growth scenario” for Cebu’s tourism based on what he said was the strong potential of Mactan island.
“I told her, ‘Governor, why not sprivatise the airport… build a light rail to the commercial centre so you bypass all the small roads. I think Cebu needs a third bridge.”
At the round table, he told journalists, “Cebu has traditionally been a trading and commercial hub. You should [build] that into a bigger hub for other things. So open your airports, it’s a better airport than NAIA [Nino Aquino International Airport in Manila],” he said.
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