Popular hotels and resorts in Bohol remained fully-booked following the clash between security forces and suspected Abu Sayyaf members in the remote village of Napo, Inabanga on Tuesday, said a local tourism official.
According to BAHRR (Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants) president Rommel Gonzales, the firefight in Inabanga, a town not known to draw tourists, did not affect the general output of the tourism sector.
Although there had been several reported booking cancellations, Gonzales said that tourism activities remain normal in Bohol particularly in Panglao, a popular tourist destination.
The official pointed out that the incident was isolated at a far-flung village in Inabanga which is far from the provinceâ€™s primary tourist attractions.
However, BUTSA (Bohol United Transport Services Association Incorporated) president Alberto Udtohan said that there were several travelers who cancelled their trips due to the Inabanga clash.
According to Udtohan, tourist influx since the firefight erupted on Tuesday has been lower compared to the number of visits in the same period last year.
This has prompted Udtohan to urge potential tourists to still visit Bohol as he pointed out that the province remains safe.
Even before the encounter in Inabanga, officials in Bohol had already ordered the intensified security in the provinceâ€™s capital and various towns for the Holy Week and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit meetings next week in Panglao.
Security in Panglao, according to Leonila Montero, had already been heightened even prior to the incident in Inabanga due to the expected arrival of the ASEAN delegates and the United States Embassyâ€™s issuance of a security advisory on Sunday which warned its citizens on travelling to Bohol and Cebu.
Meanwhile, security forces at the Tagbilaran City Airport and its surrounding areas remained on heightened alert for the ASEAN meetings and the expected influx of travelers during the Holy Week break.
Operatives of the policeâ€™s Regional Public Safety Company 7 have been stationed at the airport, said Bohol Aviation Security Group chief Sr. Insp. Marvin Bolic.
During the ASEAN meetings, five helicopters will be deployed to conduct an aerial patrol around Tagbilaran City and Panglao, added Bolic.
One of the five helicopters will serve as an air ambulance to provide quick response during emergency situations.
Since last year, the AVSEGroup has also been coordinating with barangay officials and enlisting the aid of residents in nearby areas to help secure the airportâ€™s perimeter.
The initiative started as part of the AVSEGroupâ€™s efforts to prevent terrorist attacks and other dangers in the wake of the Davao City blast which claimed the lives of 14 people and left scores injured in September last year. (Rey Tutas)