After two years of low revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cebu airport is ready to welcome tourists and travel enthusiasts back to the island.
The Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) celebrated its 32nd year of service on August 4, 2022 at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City. Officials vowed to improve its services and come back in full swing.
The announcement came after travel restrictions for the Coronavirus pandemic have been steadily lifted throughout the island, ushering in more opportunities for local and foreign tourists to experience the stunning island of Cebu once again.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
You won’t find it hard to travel to Cebu anymore, as Cebu Provincial Governor Gwendolyn Garcia approved several policies regarding health protocols that are required before stepping foot on the island.
The Governor allowed fully-vaccinated travelers to enter the island without having to present a negative COVID-19 antigen test result, giving travelers lesser travel requirements to worry about.
Garcia also approved a mandate for face masks to be optional in open spaces in Cebu province, meaning locals and visitors of the towns and municipalities in Cebu can now walk the streets without masks.
Unfortunately, the mandate applies only to areas under the jurisdiction of the Cebu Provincial Government. The cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, and Mandaue – which are not under Cebu province – have separate policies regarding face masks.
The MCIAA awarded Garcia a Plaque of Recognition for her pursuit to reopen tourism in Cebu. The Presidential Assistant to the Visayas, Michael Dino, was also awarded the same plaque, owing to his pursuit of improving the COVID-19 situation on the island. His son received the award on his behalf.
The airport authority also awarded Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Hon. Junard “Ahong” Chan. The Mayor helped maintain order in Lapu-Lapu City through aggressive vaccination programs within the island. Councilor Annabeth Cuizon received the award on behalf of Chan.
JULIUS NERI JR. (CEO OF CEBU AIRPORT AUTHORITY)
Attending the event was the CEO and General Manager of the MCIAA, Julius G. Neri Jr. He mentioned in his introductory speech the struggles the MCIAA faced due to the minimal flights to Cebu as a result of all the travel bans.
However, Neri was proud that the airport management and staff stepped up and found ways to improve their service while waiting for the return of flights going to Cebu. He said that the anniversary dinner at the Waterfront Hotel was a way to inform the world that Cebu is “back in business.”
Neri boasted about Cebu airport being one of the best in Asia, especially winning special awards in design. The MCIA Terminal 2, designed by world-renowned architect Kenneth Cobonpue, won in the Completed Buildings-Transport category at the World Architecture Festival in 2019.
The world-class terminal beat Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport. It is known by many as the best airport in the world, famous for having the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
“Being the best (airport) in the Philippines is not enough. We will not rest on our laurels. Instead, we will push forward toward our goal to have the most passenger-friendly airport in Asia,” Neri said in his introductory speech.
HON. CHRISTINA GARCIA FRASCO (DOT SECRETARY)
Also at the event was newly appointed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco. Frasco began her speech by congratulating airport staff on their 32 years in public service and followed it with an empowering message to the tourism sector.
Frasco, a true-blooded Cebuana who served as the Mayor of Liloan, called the airport “one of the crowning jewels of Philippine transportation,” becoming the gateway for over 12 billion passengers in 2019 before the pandemic hampered its momentum.
The tourism secretary announced that the MCIAA is ready to welcome tourists as Cebu tourist spots begin to reopen, and the airport expects even more arrivals.
Frasco mentioned that the modernization of infrastructure, including transportation terminals like the Cebu airport, is one of the priorities for the administration of newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Improving passenger terminals is a top priority for the DOT to empower the Philippines to be one of the best countries in the Asia Pacific.
“Airports and road accessibility to tourist sites are critical, not only for tourists but for investors. The DOT intends to support the President through the development of tourism infrastructure and the enhancement of gateways to tourist spots,” Frasco said in her speech.
The MCIAA also revealed its new logo, with the people involved sharing a toast.
You can bet that Cebu airport management is excited to welcome local and foreign travelers to the island, as Cebu tourist spots and attractions are slowly reopening and welcoming more customers.
Indeed, Cebu is ready for the new normal.
The airport is a gateway to many of the beautiful tourist spots in Cebu, and these places are shining brighter than ever. After two years, it’s time to pack your bags and book a flight to the wonderful island of Cebu.