The chief operating officer of AirAsia Philippines has openly admitted his preference for Bohol over Boracay, noting that former has effectively developed its tourism industry.
“Mas gusto ko ang Bohol kaysa Boracay,” AirAsia Philippine CEO Dexter Comendador said in a report by ABS-CBN News. “Ang may gusto lang sa Boracay ay ‘yung mga anak ko kasi party-party.”
Comendador told ABS-CBN that Bohol offers more tourist destinations beyond its white-sand beach in Panglao as it has a “complete set of attractions.”
The airline executive who is a veteran pilot also said that Bohol has been exemplary in developing its tourism industry, noting that the province is “a very good example of how tourism works.”
“Every time governors talk to me and invite me na lumipad sa probinsya nila… I always tell them, gayahin niyo ‘yung ginawa ng Bohol,” added Comendador.
In the same report, Comendador said that Bohol should take advantage of Boracay’s closure, and draw the spotlight and be known more like the resort island in Western Visayas.
“I think it’s a blessing for Bohol na nagsara ‘yung Boracay, in the sense that it gives them a lead time na makilala as an alternative to Boracay,” he said.
“Magbubukas ang Panglao [airport] ng August, hopefully. Si Boracay, mga October pa, so mas maraming chances na kunin [muna ang ibang mga turista],” he added.
AirAsia has recently renewed its collaboration with the provincial government of Bohol as the province’s official partner in the “Behold Bohol” tourism campaign.
Last week, Bohol Provincial Tourism Council chair Lucas Nunag acknowledged that the temporary closure of Boracay has significantly boosted tourist influx in the province.
According to Nunag, almost all of Panglao’s resorts were fully booked while some establishments have even started to refuse to offer accommodations.
Nunag also pinpointed the Loboc River Cruise in the municipality of Loboc as among tourist destinations which have drawn more visitors amid the summer season and Boracay’s six-month rehabilitation.
“Lahi gyud ang arrivals karon, sa Loboc ang ilang problema karon kung unsaon pag-regulate, kay they have to think of ways nga modawat sila sa igo ra nilang makaya nga serbisyuhan,” said Nunag.
According to Nunag, the current spike in arrivals should push Bohol to better prepare for the entry of more visitors later in the year due to the new airport.
Boracay is expected to re-open within the year but the Panglao airport is projected to continue fueling the uptrend in tourist arrivals in Bohol, he added.
In an earlier statement, Department of Tourism (DOT) Central Visayas director Shalimar Hofer Tamano said that Bohol should prepare for an increase in tourist arrivals
Tamano issued the statement after former DOT Secretary Corazon Wanda Teo pinpointed Bohol and Cebu as alternatives to Boracay.
The regional director also called for the creation of more accommodation options and improvement of security in the province as part of preparations.