South Koreans cancel trips to Bohol

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita April 18,2017 - 10:47 PM

 

FOLLOWING the special travel advisory issued by the Korean Consulate in Cebu, tour bookings to Bohol have been canceled by Korean tourists supposed to visit the island.

An official from the Korean Tour Agencies Association (KOTAA) in Cebu said around 90 percent of bookings for Bohol through their member agencies have already been canceled.

“When I checked with them, around 90 to 95 percent of the bookings have been canceled already. This is equivalent to more than 1,000 Korean tourists,” said an official of KOTAA who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on behalf of the association.

The Korean Consulate in Cebu has issued a special travel advisory recommending for Korean nationals to cancel or postpone their trips to Bohol from April 13 to 23.

They cited “public insecurity” caused by the infiltration of Abu Sayyaf members in the town of Inabanga in Bohol as a reason for the advisory. They also pointed out that Bohol is the venue for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) trade ministers’ pre-summit meetings from April 18 to 22.

The KOTAA in Cebu has 22 member tour agencies that are owned and operated by Koreans. They also specialize in providing tours for Koreans in Central Visayas.

According to the KOTAA official, around 20 to 30 percent of those who canceled their bookings were convinced to just transfer their tours to Cebu instead of Bohol. But the official said around 60 to 70 percent of those who canceled chose to not visit the country at all anymore.

“We are having some problem because some hotels don’t refund our booking,” the official said.

She added the Korean Consulate in Cebu has stepped in and will help convince these hotels to understand their situation considering that they issued the travel advisory.

Meanwhile, Acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella urged the public to still remain vigilant.

“I don’t think it (the Korean travel advisory) will affect us. It’s just an advisory. We just have to be careful, vigilant and cautious,” he said.

He added that the public should continue helping authorities by reporting to them if they see suspicious-looking people in their communities.

The appeal was echoed by Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, the deputy mayor on police matters. He admitted though that advisories like the one given by the Korean consulate will have an impact on the tourism industry in the region.

“That is a critical issue because as of this time, there are still some members of Abu Sayyaf that have not been caught. We also have to respect the Korean Consulate because they are also looking for the welfare of the Koreans in Cebu City,” he said.

He added that peace and order authorities in the city and the city government will continue to do their best to secure the tourists within Cebu City.

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TAGS: Asean, bohol, cancel, CANCELED, koreans, KOTAA, postpone, south, trips

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