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Tomas not keen on Miss Earth tilt

First Posted 09:29:00 09/03/2009

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For Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, the city won't host the Miss Earth beauty pageant anytime soon.

Even if the contestants come from different countries all over the world and the event attracts a worldwide audience, sponsoring the pageant is costly.

?I am not willing to host it because it will cost a lot of money. It's not my priority,? Osmeña said.

Pageant organizers wrote to City Administrator Francisco Fernandez proposing Cebu City as the venue for the contest.

The latest Miss Earth winner is a Cebuana, Karla Paula Henry. Despite this, the mayor said tourism alone won't cut down costs of hosting the pageant.

?In a beauty pageant they don't show much about the place it's all about the beautiful girls. It's very glamorous but it has no payback as far as tourism is concerned,? the mayor said.

Henry was the first Filipina to be crowned Ms. Earth in the beauty pageant's history.

Some tourism stakeholders also don't see a profit when it comes to hosting the Miss Earth beauty pageant, though restaurant operators see income going to some industries in the province.

Aissa dela Cruz, director of the Hotel Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu, said occupancy rates won't go up significantly if the Miss Earth pageant is held in Cebu City.

?I tend to agree with Mayor Tomas Osmeña,? dela Cruz said in a text message sent to CEBU DAILY NEWS, adding that pageants usually have a low audience turnout.

However, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said pageants assume a social and cultural development role in any community beyond mere tourism.

Still, he said he understands the concerns of sponsors who measure costs and benefits.

Durano said the Miss Earth pageant can attract international media mileage for Cebu City.

?As for the cost, ?this is an international pageant and organizers usually ask sponsorships from the host,? he said.

The Ms. Earth pageant was organized and launched in 2001 to create awareness on environmental protection through a showcase of beauty and various tourist destinations.

Every year 80 to 90 candidates compete to become the ambassador for environmental protection.

The pageant will be held in a few months but no venue has been chosen yet.

/With Correspondent Aileen Garcia-Yap

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