The Province of Bohol launched last Thursday its new branding in a bid to further strengthen its positioning as a premiere tourism destination in Asia.
The province is expected to open its new international airport in Panglao early next year which will ease connectivity from neighboring countries.
Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto expressed optimism that the rebranding of Bohol, alongÂ with more infrastructure development, will contribute further to international arrivals in the country.
Amidst this, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) vows continued assistance to the province to push for sustainable tourism.
USAID in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UN-WTO), assisted Bohol in developing the Bohol Tourism Recovery Program (BTRP) following the 2013 earthquake that shook the island province.
The development of the branding â€œBehold Boholâ€ was part of strategies laid out in the BTRP. UN-WTO brought in experts from CNN led by destination branding expert Anita Mendiratta and CNN executive Sally Young.
â€œBehold Boholâ€ positions the province as a prime destination that values preservation of nature, culture, and historical heritage.
Bohol is known for its geological wonder, the Chocolate Hills and the worldâ€™s tiniest primate, the tarsier. The province is also home to majestic 15thÂ century Catholic churches and old Spanish houses.
USAID Deputy Mission Director Christopher Foley said tourism is key driver of growth that helps in generating jobs and livelihood for poor communities.
â€œThe US government strongly believes that tourism development has a holistic impact in addressing poverty and preserving the environment through sustainable jobs,â€ Foley said in a keynote address at the launch held at Marco Polo in Ortigas.
USAID anchored its assistance to Bohol through the Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) project to help improve competitiveness of key industries particularly tourism.
â€œWith strong cooperation of local communities and private tourism stakeholders in Bohol, USAID COMPETE project did not only help bring Bohol back on its feet but also helped boost tourism further with the integration of exciting tourism packages,â€ Foley said.
Gov. Edgar Chatto said â€œBehold Boholâ€ tourism campaign reflects Boholâ€™s values, history, and identity.
â€œThe province of Bohol remains committed to promoting sustainable tourism programs that do not only preserve the environment, cultural, and historical heritage but also the peopleâ€™s values of cooperation and resilience,â€ Chatto stated.
During the launch, Bohol renewed its Memorandum of Agreement with AirAsia as its airline partner. The partnership with the worldâ€™s best low cost carrier by Skytrax was part of initiatives of USAID COMPETE in its assistance to the project.
Philippines AirAsia CEO Captain Dexter Comendador said, â€œOur partnership with Bohol is another step forward in an ongoing journey towards providing connectivity and convenience with fresh new approach and experience to engage guests and increase passenger traffic to and from Bohol.â€
To celebrate the partnership, AirAsia is increasing its daily flights between Manila and Bohol to 4x daily starting March 1 with promo fares from as low as P1,599 only and up for grabs at airasia.comÂ for travel period between July 1 to November 30, 2017.
AirAsia, the leading and largest low cost carrier in Asia, services the most extensive network with over 120 destinations. Within 150 years of operations, AirAsia has carried over 330 million guests and grown its fleet from just two aircrafts to over 170. The airline is proud to be a truly ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, India, and Japan. AirAsia was named the Worldâ€™s Best Low Cost Airline in the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax for eight consecutive years 2006-2016.