Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bohol Tourism Back In Business

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Bohol’s tourism industry is well on its way to recovery with the reopening of the Loboc River Cruise last 24 October 2013, which had an unexpected turnout of walk-in visitors outnumbering those invited. Other attractions that have reopened include the Tarsier Habitat and the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 7 office reports that roads leading to most of the tourist attractions are now passable, with roads from Tagbilaran City to Carmen via Corella already open to light vehicles (cars and vans). Most tourism establishments have also resumed operations, and owners are discussing measures on how to implement the swift turnaround of their businesses. These include providing alternative routes and tours, as well as promotional offers.

During her visit to Bohol last Friday, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Country Mission Director Gloria D. Steele committed USAID’s support by extending technical assistance to the DOT and Bohol stakeholders in the preparation of a recovery plan for the Cebu-Bohol Tourism Development Areas (TDAs). DOT Region VII Director Rowena Montecillo gave an initial post-disaster assessment, while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) evaluated the impact of the earthquake on the access and discussed the rehabilitation measures needed in support of the tourism program.

The USAID-assisted program was presented to the Executive Committee of the Provincial Tourism Council, Office of the Governor, and local government units (LGUs). The recovery plan includes a communication strategy to bring back the confidence of domestic and international travellers and of the communities; the assessment of tourism infrastructure and assets to be prioritized for rehabilitation by agencies concerned, international donors, development partners, national and local government agencies, and private sector. It also includes product development for new tourism circuits, governance programs, and long-term initiatives to sustain growth, mitigate risks of crises, and increase preparedness of tourism destinations.

“The resilience and optimism of the Boholanos clearly explain why their provincial tourism is a success. We are proud to show the world how the Filipino bayanihan spirit works best during these challenging times. The DOT lauds the tourism associations in Bohol for their prompt action in bringing business back to normal, which demonstrates their collective commitment in sustaining tourism growth so as to contribute in rebuilding the tourism infrastructure and livelihood of local communities,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. said.

“Now more than ever, Bohol needs its tourism income to move forward from this fortuitous event and it is a matter of making sure we have the right programs for rehabilitation. In addition to the government and private sector collaboration, we are very thankful for the assistance coming from external international donor agencies, such as the USAID and the UNWTO. We will also be coordinating with the UNWTO to synchronize support with the USAID’s Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project. In no time, we shall see Bohol’s tourism industry fully revived and continuing its vital economic contribution to the region and entire country. Bohol is one of our primary offerings. We are focused on getting Bohol going, to keep it going,” Secretary Jimenez concluded.

*Photo credits to GMA7 and Hitting The Trail

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