The Tourism Department expressed confidence on the resiliency of the country’s tourism industry and its strength to weather the adverse effect of martial rule in Mindanao.
“This is just a temporary setback. We express full confidence in in our Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo said during a recent dialog with private sector representatives.
The department and stakeholders met to assess the situation and draw up immediate steps to address notices of cancellation of trips and hotel bookings from the Korean, Japanese and Chinese markets.
A delegation led by Tourism Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. is on its way to Seoul, South Korea to dispel fears and the negative perception on traveling to the Philippines.
“Although cancellations have been reported, we want to inform our visitors of the wide selection of alternative destinations in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country,” Teo said.
Teo said Mindanao can recover and regain its visitors, citing Davao City’s tourist arrivals of 459,104 in the first quarter of this year, which are up 13 percent year-on-year.
“For most Davaoeños, martial law means peace and order will prevail and that this is a temporary situation, as Secretary Teo pointed out,” said Davao City tourism operations officer Generose Tecson.
The Tourism regional offices will provide crisis management trainings, offer alternative destinations, as well as promote tourism activities and destinations across the Philippines.
Teo also assured the public that department would continue monitoring on the ground to execute further appropriate remedial measures in ensuring local and foreign tourists were kept out of harm’s way.