The Island of Bohol in the Visayas (Philippines) has been recently into newspapers headlines for deadly clashes involving government’s forces and Muslim fundamentalits from Abu Sayef. Despite cancellations, authorities in Bohol remain confident of a long-term tourism growth.
Security concerns are unlikely to dent the long-term potential of Bohol as a tourist destination, even as it can temporarily scare away foreigners, the head of the island’s tourism council said.
At least 9 people were killed after security forces clashed with suspected Abu Sayyaf extremists in the coastal town of Inabanga on Tuesday, just days after the United States issued a travel warning in the region due to an alleged kidnapping threat. The city is however some two hours away from most of the resorts located at Panglao.
Inabanga is also an hour away from Bohol UNESCO listed Chocolate Hills. “Our tourism industry is very resilient,” Lucas Nunag, chairman of the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council, told ABS-CBN News, noting how the province recovered from the 2013 earthquake that leveled century-old churches.
“It’s very likely that there will be some cancellations but this will be temporary,” said Nunag, who operates a 32-room hotel. So far,some 400 Japanese tourists have cancelled a trip to Cebu, following the clash with Abu Sayyaf extremists.
Increased frequencies of flights and inter-island ferry services have helped boost tourist traffic, which could increase with the opening of an international airport, he said. The airport is due to open by next year latest. It will be able to accommodate annual movements of two million passengers compared to 900,000 passengers for now. The new facility requested an investment for US$153 million (P7.77 billion).