MANILA-- Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo on Thursday said that despite the encounter between security forces and a terror group in Bohol last month, a number of foreign tourists still expressed their interest to visit the province.
"Napakasuwerte ng Bohol. Pag umalis ako ng bansa, hinahabol ng mga turista ang Bohol (Bohol is very lucky. Whenever I am out of the country, tourists run after Bohol)," Teo said during a dialogue with Bohol stakeholders at The Bellevue Resort in Panglao Island.
"I know you can stand on your own kasi kahit hindi ko kayo ibenta, hinahanap na kayo (because even without having to sell you, tourists look for you)," she added.
Teo, meanwhile, vowed to boost efforts to further promote Bohol tourism and help it bounce from some travel bookings cancelled the past month.
"We will focus on Bohol because of what happened. Ako na mismo, Secretary of Tourism, nandito (Me, Secretary of Tourism, am here) to prove to everyone that Bohol is a safe haven for tourists and residents alike," she added.
She meanwhile reiterated her appeal for embassies to coordinate with the concerned country before issuing a travel advisory.
After the meeting, Teo is set to join a whole-day tour of Bohol's tourist attractions.
In a previous press conference, Teo said tourists continue to visit Central Visayas and that the minor decline in tourism numbers would not affect the target of acquiring 7 million foreign tourist arrivals by yearend.
Travel agencies earlier reported a number of cancelled trips from Japan, US, Europe among other countries. However, the DOT explained that this had little effect on overall tourism numbers.
Teo said that cancellations were minimal and assured that the agency is coordinating with law enforcement authorities to assure the safety of tourists.
Every time there are travel advisories, tourism numbers lie low for a while. But after a month, tourists return. Cancellations are minimal, she said.
Bohol is best known for both natural and man-made attractions including the Chocolate Hills, its Jesuit Baroque mission churches, Balicasag dive sites, resorts among others.
Source: Philippines News Agency