By Minerva Newman
TAGBILARAN CITY – Bohol has started to feel the pinch of tour cancellations due to the 2019 novel Coronavirus (nCoV) scare.
This was disclosed by Governor Arthur Yap who said he has received private texts messages from resort and hotel operators warning him that at the rate of cancellations of reservations at resorts and hotels, some establishments will have to lay off several employees, thereby, affecting hundreds of working families in Bohol.
It is for this reason and the possible worsening situation in the coming weeks that Yap has asked the Provincial Government of Bohol to be more pro-active in finding ways to plug the worsening leak of tourist non-arrivals, and replacing them with local travelers.
According to Yap that the Philippines has more than seven million tourists annually, and Bohol may have close to two million visitors annually.
“These are our fellow ‘kababayans’ traveling with their families, office mates, barkadas, or attending incentives and seminar workshops all over the country. We must compete with other provinces in attracting more local and foreign visitors to come to Bohol right away,” Yap said.
Yap has advised Vice Governor Rene Relampagos to activate the Bohol Tourism Office to coordinate with the Bohol Association of Hotels Resorts and Restaurants (BAHRR) for an urgent meeting and come up with attractive tour packages to attract domestic travelers to come and visit Bohol in the next coming weeks.
“We cannot just sit and do nothing. In April, I have asked that a familiarization tour of Japanese tour operators come to Bohol to acquaint themselves with the product, while we continue working on opening direct charter flights between Panglao International Airport and Narita International Airport,” Yap commented.
But until such time comes, Bohol must come up with a package and go on a road show, sell tour packages directly on the internet and bring sales efforts directly to the domestic Filipino travelers.
According to Yap, coming up with better rates must include airline rates, restaurant/food packages and entrance to local rides and sites, including unified and reasonable transport rates. Things will still be worse before they become better, he added.
What was important, Yap added, was that the provincial government was already doing something to address the tourist cancellations.