Freeman Cebu Business

PAL exec: Bora closure seen to benefit Vismin

Carlo S. Lorenciana - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — While the impending closure of Boracay Island worries tourism stakeholders, a top airline executive believes this temporary shutdown is seen to benefit in general the tourism industry in Visayas and Mindanao.

Philippine Airlines president and chief operating officer Jaime Baustista in particular cited Cebu and Bohol as among the tourist destinations to benefit from Boracay's closure.

He said Cebu, Bohol and other islands in Visayas and Mindanao are bound to get more visitors.

He said the flag carrier expects Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan to benefit as it re-directs more flights from China, Korea and Taiwan to Cebu and Puerto Princesa, with some traffic flowing on to Siargao, Camiguin, Coron and Butuan.

PAL seeks to increase frequencies of flights particularly from Manila to compensate for the impending closure of Boracay and to offer vacation travelers alternative holiday destinations.

Airline companies seek to showcase other tourism sites in the country with the Boracay closure.

Air carriers also offer passengers rebooking options to their other destinations.

Airline firms deem Boracay's closure as an opportunity to highlight other tourist spots in the country.

Cebu's hospitality industry is ready to address the demand with the expected influx of tourists into the province with the temporary closure of Boracay Island, Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) president Carlo Suarez earlier said.

He said Cebu is ready as far as the demand for accommodations is concerned.

"Accommodations in the city would not be a challenge as Cebu has lots of room available in the different hotels and resorts, this increase in number would be like the increased number of guests during Sinulog, only that it would last for a longer period of time," the HRRAC official earlier said.

Earlier, Department of Tourism in Central Visayas director Shalimar Tamano said Cebu and Bohol are among the alternative destinations being promoted by the agency to local and international visitors.

He said the opening of a second terminal at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) this June and the Panglao International Airport in Bohol this November is expected to further boost influx of tourists.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved the total closure of Boracay for six months, starting April 26, to pave the way for the island’s restoration.

The DOT-7 chief also said these provinces remain to be attractive destinations because of continuous campaign to promote them locally and abroad. But efforts to lure in more tourists will not come easy as there some challenges that need to be addressed, two of which are the issue on security and the availability of rooms to cater to the increased demand, he noted.

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