Aumentado: 10,000 South Koreans to visit Bohol in next 3 months
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol — At least 10,000 South Korean tourists are expected to visit the Province of Bohol in the next three months giving the local tourism industry hope for the continued recovery of the sector that was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Aris Aumentado said guests would be expected to come in batches starting next month and until February 2023.
They will be transported to Bohol via Royal Air that is now flying routes to the Panglao International Airport.
Aumentado said he had been talking to his counterparts in South Korea to plan the visits here.
“Ilang gipromote ang atong probinsya sa Bohol. And not only for Bohol, including Cebu and the rest nga asa ang mga tourist destinations makahatag og pahalipay sa mga Koreano nga ganahan mosud nganhi sa atong nasud sa Pilipinas,” he said in a press conference on Monday, Nov. 21.
(They are promoting our province of Bohol. And not only for Bohol, including Cebu and the rest where tourist destinations can provide enjoyment to the Koreans, who wanted to come here in our country of the Philippines.)
And while he already wanted to see the full recovery of their tourism industry, Aumentado said, tourist visits should still be done with caution.
“Dili outright ang [arrival sa] 10, 000 [Koreans]. By batch kay giconsider pud nato ang kaning pandemic pa lagi. Naa pay COVID-19 so careful pud sila and careful pud ta dinhi,” the governor said.
(It is not outright [arrival of] the 10,000 [Koreans]. It will be by batch because we are considering the pandemic. COVID-19 is still here so they are also careful and we are also careful here.)
Department of Tourism (DOT) Usec. Shalimar Tamano, director of the DOT in Central Visayas (DOT-7), earlier said that they recorded 962,418 tourists who visited the region between January to June 2022.
But a breakdown as to how many of these visited Bohol is unavailable as of this writing.
Aumentado said foreign tourist, especially, had already retuned to Bohol, a significant improvement to what they had during the height of the pandemic when travel requirements were very tedious.
But the current arrivals are not yet enough to say that the province’s tourism sector is now fully recovered.
“Tan-aw nako nakarecover na man hinay-hinay pero kinahanglanon pa gyud og more tourist para gyud makafull blast na sila sa ilang businesses,” he said.
(The way I look at it, they are recovering slowly but they will need more tourists so that they can go full blasts with their businesses.)
“Wala pa nakabalik sa pre-pandemic arrivals…Pero nakarecover na gyud unlike sa katong for two years nga ni drop gyud kaayo. So, kita nagsaka ta,” he said.
(We have not yet reached pre-pandemic arrivals…but we have recovered but unlike two years ago when we really dropped. So, we are now increasing.)
Aumentado said the presence of an international airport in Panglao was a big help to their recovery efforts.
He said that Air Asia wanted to make Bohol a hub for some of their international flights while Philippine Airlines had also expressed interest on opening routes to the province.
The governor said he was also looking forward to a takeover of airport operations by a private firm.
“So, hoping pa gyud mi nga mas modaghan pa gyud na ang flights namo once motake over na gyud ang Abotiiz sa among airport, international airport sa Panglao. Daku kaayo ni nga impact for us nga Aboitiz mocome in kay kahibaw man ko nga sila pud momarket man na og flights, mga international flights sa airport nga ilang gihandolan,” he said.
(So, we are hoping that more flights would come here once Aboitiz would take over our airport, international airport of Panglao. This is a big impact for us that Aboitiz will come in because we know that Aboitiz will also market flights, international flights for the airport that it is handling.)
In addition, Aumentado said he was also looking for ways to increase passenger traffic especially at the Port of Tagbilaran that was now being served by just one fastcraft company that would bring passengers from Cebu to Bohol and vice versa.
“Challenge gyud ni namo nga manginvite ta og additional nga fastcraft or kanang mga ferries nga makacater gyud sa mga passenger labi na ang mga turista,” he said.
(It is a challenge for us to invite additional fastcraft or ferries that cater to passengers, especially tourists.)
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