By Jose Santino S. Bunachita
PIO Reporter

CEBU CITY (October 25, 2022)Mayor Mike Rama wants more Japanese tourists to visit Cebu City, now that the economy has opened up.

He said he will ask airline companies such as Philippine Airlines (PAL) to encourage them to reopen direct flights from Japan to Cebu, and vice versa.

“I want to tell the whole people in Japan: Be in Cebu City because we will take care of our tourists,” he said in an interview with Naoji Shibata, deputy editor-in-chief of RealAsia.Travel, in his office last Friday.

Naoji Shibata and Mayor Rama.

Shibata lamented that unlike before the pandemic, direct flights from Japan to Cebu and other parts of the country are “very few” now.

To this, the mayor said it is imperative to resume these direct flights now that the city has reached herd immunity in its CoViD vaccination, and the pandemic has been manageable.

“That is why the Department of Tourism (DOT) has to be very aggressive,” Mayor Rama said.

According to the Mayor, it is also important to start actively promoting tourism now as the city is preparing for Sinulog 2023, which will be held at the South Road Properties (SRP) for the first time.

He added that he will fly to Japan in December for an official function. While there, he said he hopes to be able to talk to Japanese groups so he can personally invite them to visit Cebu again.

In prior years, before the pandemic, the Japanese were among the top five tourists that come and visit Central Visayas, based on data from the DOT.

A look online of Real


Aside from tourists, Mayor Rama also encouraged Japanese investors to set up shop in the city, especially as it plans to convert an area in the SRP as an ecozone.

“We have the SRP, build with a loan JICA provided. And we have 300 hectares there. And that’s a very good area for investment,” he said.

According to SRP manager Roberto “Bu” Varquez, the city has set aside a 25-hectare area at SRP as an ecozone for light industries.

The former Inayawan landfill (bottom portion) and the unfilled Pond A of the South Road Properties. (PIO/File)

Asked how he will encourage investors to come to Cebu City, Mayor Rama said he himself has deep ties with the Japanese people and government.

“We also have an in-charge on business. Anyone who’d like to invest, we have an assistance desk to help. Cebuanos, like the mayor, we give our hospitality,” he said.

Mayor Rama also pointed out that Cebu City also has a young and skilled workforce that Japanese investors can tap for their manpower here in the city. #