NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The tourism stakeholders stood as one in asking the three major airline companies to explain the high cost of airfares from Manila to Bohol or vice versa as compared to other destinations in the country.
In a joint resolution, four tourism-related associations stated the riding public is “alarmed that the cost of airfare to and from Bohol is significantly higher compared to other destinations” after a comparative study was made by the Bohol Tourism Office (BTO) amid mounting complaints from both tourists as well as local residents.
The alarm was issued as the slow trend of arrivals was blamed on the high cost of airfares of Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air-Asia.
Booking two days before the desired flight date, a round trip ticket can reach as high as P17,000 as compared to other destinations which would be just about half the amount. An Airfare Comparative Chart showed the remarkable difference in airfares in Bohol and the other tourist destinations as Palawan, Boracay and Cebu.
The joint resolution was signed by lawyer Lucas Nunag, chairman of Prov’l Tourism Council (PTC); Rommel Gonzales, president of the Bohol Association of Hotels Resorts and Restaurants (BAHRR); Dominic Butalid, president of Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and Lourdes Sultan, president of the Bohol Federation of Travel and Tour Operators (BOFETTO).
PTC Chair Nunag said the airlines play a crucial role in the tourism industry of Bohol.
These high costs of airfares to and from Bohol will practically “discourage many tourists from visiting the province, especially those travelling on a limited budget,” Nunag stressed.
Gov. Aris Aumentado, in supporting the joint resolution, sent letters to Rabbi Vincent Ang, president of PAL Express; Alexander Lao, CEO of Cebu Pacific and Ricky Isla CEO of Philippines Air Asia, Inc.
He informed the airline executives that he received several complaints from tourists and local residents themselves about the high airfare cost to the province and back to Manila.
The governor asked the airline executives to explain on why cost of airfare coming to Bohol is much higher as compared to other tourist destinations.
Gov. Aumentado said while the high cost of fuel can be one of the reasons why airfares increased, there could be other factors which the public would wish to hear from the airline companies.
He told the airline executives that their explanations can enable the stakeholders and the LGU itself “to work together to come up with ways to make visits to Bohol more attractive.”
101 FLIGHTS PER WEEK
The Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) can still accommodate more flights, according to Acting BPIA Manager Anchelop Ybañez.
He said there are 101 flights weekly which are 77 flights from Manila (11 flights/day), 14 direct flights from Incheon, South Korea, seven from Davao, and three from El Nido.
The daily flights are four of Cebu Pacific, four of Air Asia Phils. and three of Philippine Airlines, all from Manila. There are two daily flights of Jeju Air from South Korea, according to Ybañez.