Rep. Rene L. Relampagos, chair of the House Committee on Tourism, has expressed strong confidence that Boholâ€™s tourist arrivals will continue to soar with the provinceâ€™s vigorous tourism promotions, infrastructure development and continuous innovation.
Relampagos issued the statement following the release of the data from the Regional Development Council 7 showing that Bohol remains at the third spot in tourism arrivals in Central Visayas. Cebu posts 1,321,632 local and foreign tourists; Negros Oriental had 250,404 while Bohol keeps a close third to Negros Oriental at 201,133.
â€œWe are off to a stronger start despite the challenges we have encountered. However, with success comes greater challenges,â€ he stressed, adding that convincing the tourists to come back remains a huge challenge that will require the province to reinvent itself on a regular basis in order to sustain the momentum and keep the experiences unique for touristsâ€.
Relampagos said itâ€™s a challenge for a province that prides itself on being historic to reinvent. â€œWe can come up with new concepts without losing our cultural identity by introducing new themes, new festivals, new entertainment. More importantly, we need to upgrade our infrastructure specifically our airport, a vital step towards increasing tourist access to Boholâ€.
Tourism industry experts observed that when Bohol topped in tourism arrivals in Central Visayas, it had direct flights from Manila to Tagbilaran to Manila, where thousands of tourists come in without getting past Cebu. Now, owing to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippinesâ€™ one plane on the tarmac policy considering risks, implemented here, Bohol could only get a maximum of 5 flights.
DOT accordingly counts only the tourists staying in a place for a minimum of an overnight stay, while the thousands of day-tourists coming to Bohol could not be included in the count.
Carreon, in his regional economic situationer in the Visayas pointed out that the region saw an astounding increase at 185.6% increase in foreign travelers to the region from 239,770 in 2014 to 682,759.
â€œI believe our efforts to improve Boholâ€™s infrastructure and redevelop the heritage structures destroyed by the devastating earthquake will boost the tourism industry in the province. We just need to work hand in hand so that we can sustain the growth and weâ€™re looking forward to welcoming more visitors in the coming months,â€ Relampagos concluded.