PH-China sea row taking toll on Bohol tourism

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PH-China sea row taking toll on Bohol tourism

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Chinese tourists have started to cancel their vacation plans in Bohol after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) under the United Nations ruled in favor of the Philippines in its territorial dispute with China, a local tourism official said.

Romel Gonzales, president of the Bohol Association of Hotel Resorts and Restaurants (BHARR), told DYRD Balita that in the next months, Bohol’s tourist entries will slightly decline particularly the Chinese segment of the province’s market.

The cancellation of trips by Chinese tourists are not only felt in Bohol but also in other parts of the country.

Gonzales believes that publicized bulletins from the Chinese government warning its citizens to avoid visiting the Philippines are likely to be the cause behind the cancellations.

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However, Gonzales is confident that the dwindling number of Chinese visitors would not be a cause for concern as Bohol’s tourism sector is not solely dependent on tourists from China.

From January to the first week of July this year, Bohol’s tourism sector performed well, Gonzales added.

Tourist influx into the province started to rise even before the summer season as 174,257 tourist entries were recorded from January to March this year based on a data from the research and statistics department of the Bohol Tourism Office.

Currently, Filipino tourists still comprise the biggest chunk of visitors in Panglao and other tourist destinations in Bohol at 60 percent, Gonzales said.

Other than the Chinese, Bohol is also visited by tourists from South Korea, USA, France, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, and Canada.

On July 12, 2016, the PCA ruled in favor of the Philippines in its arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

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Even before the release of the international tribunal’s verdict, Beijing had already declared that it will not accept the ruling as it noted that the arbitration was “illegal from the beginning”. (with reports from Allen Doydora)

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