Bohol has officially reopened its doors to tourists but there may not be any actual arrivals until December, an official said Monday, a day after the opening of the province’s “tourism bubble.”
According to Provincial Administrator Kathyrin Pioquinto, the first scheduled arrival is for a four-day conference and this will be attended by members of the Tourism Promotions Board and tour operators from other localities on December 7.
Other than the arriving tourism industry stakeholders, no other visitors are expected to enter the province in the forthcoming weeks.
“We don’t know yet, kay in terms of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) lisod kaayo na siya,” said Pioquinto.
The provincial government has earlier clarified that the province is initially only accepting the entry of visitors for MICE activities and other group gatherings such as weddings, birthdays and reunions.
For group events, there should be a minimum of six people to enter the province as a batch.
The province has already launched less restrictive protocols in welcoming tourists into the island with visitors no longer mandated to undergo quarantine upon their arrival.
They are only required to submit a negative PCR test result issued 72 hours or three days before their trips to the province.
Meanwhile, commercial flights are expected to resume soon which may help reignite interest from tourists to visit Bohol even amid the pandemic.
“PAL, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia they have all written to us na mosugod na sila og commercial flights,” Pioquinto said.
She clarified that the provincial government prompted airlines to re-launch their regular operations in Bohol two months ago, contrary to earlier reports indicating that the Capitol had been blocking the resumption of commercial flights.
“Mi gawas ang issue na kami ang nagpugong anang commercial flights kay naay gikita ang province, di mana tinuod,” she said.
The number of flights however are expected to be minimal with all three major airlines planning to only offer trips once or twice a week.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in March, the Bohol Panglao International Airport was handling at least eight airline arrivals daily. (R. Tutas)