NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The much publicized reopening of Bohol to frequent individual travelers (F.I.T.) is forecast to fail in terms of tourist arrivals.
This is the common consensus among tourism stakeholders who view the campaign to be far below the expectation of government agencies particularly the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) as well as the provincial government.
Allan Santos, manager of the Bohol Beach Club said the “difficulty in fulfilling travel requirements including separate registration for the province and for Panglao need to be streamlined for the convenience of guests.
The stigma or fear to travel since the virus is still very much a threat is the second reason, he said.
The stakeholders are caught in between the PGB and Panglao LGU making the process so difficult as the LGU would issue their own requirements in answer to the requirements of the PGB,
The resort manager said there were cases wherein “guests would be made to wait at the airport for an hour upon their arrival, either because of the shortcomings of the LGU or PGB.”
“Too many to fulfill but redundant,” he said
Santos likewise cited the “indecisiveness of the provincial government to earlier decide on whether to truly open its borders.”
Atty. Doy Nunag, chairman of the Prov’l Tourism Council (PTC) said that aside from the fear factor, there is the wrong messaging from most sectors. He likewise cited the “cost and hassle of travel due to safety protocols.”
“We need to wait for a while when the appetite for travel comes back,” Nunag said.
The health protocol and the “not so tourists friendly procedures” are preventing tourists to come, according to Romel Gonzales, manager of the Modala Resort, the newest high end resort in Panglao.
For her part, Hope Uy, general manager of South Palms said the PCR testing at the point of destination and here is the prime reason why few tourists are coming. She said the antigen testing which results will be known in 15 minutes should suffice if “we want tourists to come,” Ms. Uy stressed.
“Spending an additional cost of P4,500 for their PCR test is already equivalent to an overnight stay,” says manager Doer Escoto of Bellevue Resort citing the same situation as in Boracay.
Meanwhile, Joan Pinat, of the Bohol Tourism Office (BTO) told the Chronicle that as of yesterday, there are 203 registered guests who are booked to come to Bohol between Dec. 15 to 31.