MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) held a closed-door meeting with the private sector in the tourism industry.
This is to address concerns on the security of tourists especially of foreign nationals who wish to spend their vacation in Bohol.
The issue came after the encounter between alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and government troops last week.
The DOT assures it is safe to travel to Bohol with the implementation of strict security measures in the province which is among the venues of the 2017 ASEAN meetings.
DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said the number of tourists in the country remains high despite trip cancellations from Japan, China and Korea.
In fact, USec. Bengzon said, a high-profile Japanese TV Production crew is set to shoot videos of scenic views in Cebu.
“Just to assure you that there is a group in Cebu and again we see this as a strong sign of confidence in our destinations,” he said.
DOT is also coordinating the Japanese prime minister for the issuance of a travel advisory that it is safe to travel to the Philippines especially in Bohol.
“Like the Japanese ambassador, he told me, ‘Write me a letter. Tell me what you want and then I will send that letter to Japan for them to tell the residents, the Japanese tourists, to travel to the Philippines because it is safe’,” Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Wanda Teo Tulfo said.
There has been coordination with the United Nations World Tourism Organization to lift the travel advisories in the country.
“The travel advisories have been a problem of the country every time there is kidnapping somewhere in the Philippines. There have always been travel advisories saying it is not safe to travel in the Philippines. So he told me…as the Secretary General of UNWTO, can call the embassy concerned and tell them to lift the travel advisory,” Sec. Tulfo added.
The Department of Tourism is confident that the department will reach the targeted 8 million tourist arrivals this year. —Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue
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