WE HONESTLY THINKÂ we need to be more serious in addressing our Tourism woes.
If Bohol is not taking off the ground majestically yet- don’t blame God- He has Â already given us Â the best Nature can give- surpassing most places in beauty and transcendence.
But before people can appreciate Bohol’s exquisite finds, they,of course, have to get here first. Aye, that’s the rub.
They arrive here via the air and sea route. Once they land here- the beautiful Circumferential Road will make their land trip fantastically trouble-free and picturesque. But that is putting the cart before the horse. How do they get here?
For many months, out of due respect to the rulings of the International Civil Aeronautics Organization, only one plane can land in the stamp-sized Tagbilaran City airport. That essentially means assuming the Â 8 Airbus land in shape with fully loaded 170 passengers on board – Bohol would have 1,250 new arrivals in one day. Fine.
But not fine. Because for months Bohol suffered a huge publicity nightmare because of the air transport system here.Â Once a plane gets hiccups (figurative) Â and needs a doctor, there was no parking area to repair it – all the seven other planes flights are thereby cancelled. Multiply that by 2 or 3 days- that’s nearing 4,000 in potential visitors lost.
The Holy Name University , a gracious host like the SVDs are, even appeared like more interested in leasing a lot that would be used as the ramp to park the stalled vehicle- than the CAAP Â (Civil Aeronautics Authority) ever was. There was evident foot-dragging by the CAAP -as documented in the HNU Board meetings’ minutes.
When the ink in the agreement dried, a contractor apparently got the bid (negotiated contract?) and promised to deliver last September which they never did. They blamed the inclement weather- but even children in the elementary know now that rains come during those months . Was there a penalty on the slippage as Tourism continued to suffer.Â Nada.
Trumpets blaring- they recently announced that Â the ramp was now ready for occupancy. But wait. They forgot the towing equipment to bring the disjointed airplane for repair. Anymore,lucid intervals as more delays ensued.? Alzheimer’s? Now they stumbled over one another securing one.
Just yesterday, a PAL plane- 5 minutes away from the city airport runway- had to be diverted to Cebu Mactan’s airport because heavy rains caused an Â impossible visibility situation. The pilot made a Â sound judgment call Â in doing that-but tell that to the diverted passengers who had to struggle to get here again.
The night lighted runway has always been a suggestion for many years past. But like many unsolicited ones- the CAAP just ignores it. And the DOT – whose budget comrades brag about BUB (Bottoms Up Budgeting) for years should have allotted some funds for this in the GAA (national budget) for Congress deliberation. This was a suggestion since many years back.
We are sure our three able Bohol congressmen could have easily defended those few millions for the runway lights.
The lighted runway is a safety net for all passengers.Â And Â would easily enable Bohol to have three more flights or at least close to 600 more visitors daily.
Recall that to fill the rooms of established resorts- we must Â have the Â seats. Now the Hennan group (400), Be Group (200) and Bellevue (150) and other new resorts as Amorita,Â Bluewater (Panglao) are hard put with low occupancy because of lack of seats.
Recall that when the Panglao Bohol Airport is operational , 5000 new rooms are needed.
To attract those investors, they should come in now- and Â not when the airport is already Â in full swing. That would be too late. In the meantime, they need some return on their investments -how can they with the limited seats? Plus the aggravations in between.
There is the option to bring them in via Mactan through our fast craft ferries from Cebu to Bohol. There are barriers.
There is Â no on-line booking system Â for fast craft tickets- an abomination by any standard. Added to that Â is the horrendous Cebu traffic that is starting to rival Manila in raising a commuter’s blood pressure between Mactan and the Cebu piers. Why not a convenient transport system to riders aiming to cross to Bohol from their Mactan planes?
Watch traffic worsen as Robinson and Shoemart recently opened their gigantic malls- good gracious. At least, the Cebu port terminals are now close to global standard.
Going through all those is not Â “it’s more fun in the Philippines”.
Frankly, we sometimes get tired writing Editorials like this-but we have to-until our fingers get petrified by arthritis.
Pardon our candor- but let’s get more serious with the way we handle Tourism, guys.
Hope we did not come on too strong as we wish our dear Readers, Advertisers and Friends a Merry Christmas this Friday. SHALOM!
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