To stabilize the tourism sector of the province, Bohol is setting its sights on the local market to boost its tourist activity, officials said in a recent meeting.
Bohol’s hotel and resort owners, transport providers, sites and attractions operators, and officials of the Department of Tourism came together to act on the state of tourism in the province in the light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Amid the various travel bans in place owing to the virus, thousands of hotel reservations and tour operations are seeing a sharp decline in volume and sales. As a local economy based largely on tourism, Bohol is definitely feeling the effects of the tourism slowdown, they said.
Despite these difficulties, Bohol Governor Arthur Yap assured foreign and local tourists alike that the province is a safe, fun, and wonderful place to come to. More attractions beyond the Chocolate Hills and tarsier sightings are being established, outside of the more popular Countryside Tour.
To market all these attractions and keep up with airline travel promos, the province has launched its “Hot Summer Sale,” which includes discounts on accommodations all over the island by as much as 50 percent.
All over the island, the Boholano eco-cultural tourism scene is growing, Yap noted. Cultural mapping done in recent years reveals a wealth of cultural heritage for everyone to enjoy and encourage repeat visits to the province.
Locally grown cultural collectives are using oral, artistic, culinary and religious traditions to power performances, local crafts, food places, and purposefully built performance spaces to fund environmental protection and enhancement.
Yap said Bohol’s tourism traffic comes by way of Manila, Cebu, and Davao, requiring the use of connecting flights and boat rides to the island. This implies that tourists coming to Bohol have already passed through at least one batch of screenings for Covid-19 before arrival, and the island itself implements its own procedures.
Bohol is strictly implementing quarantine and screening protocols in its various points of entry like the international airport and its various seaports, including the use of non-contact thermometers in all entry ports.
Among other health measures include the ubiquitous use of sanitizers in all public spaces and an increased drive in hygiene and sanitation. Yap also assured that in compliance with DILG directives, Tagbilaran City and all of Bohol’s hospitals have established quarantine areas.
Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez, spokesman of the Technical Working Group of Bohol, stated that all Bohol villages have established Barangay Emergency Response Teams, whose members are trained to set up quarantine protocols in their areas should anyone be identified as a Person Under Investigation (PUIs) for the coronavirus.
There are no PUIs in Bohol currently after previous PUIs have all tested negative, according to the province’s health services.
Assuring the public of his commitment to public safety, Yap reminded the public that at the height of the African Swine Flu outbreak, Bohol has disallowed pork imports from Luzon to protect local livestock.
“If I can protect Bohol’s hogs, how much more Bohol’s people?” he said.