Firm works on 2nd phase of Choco Hills site

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BIKEZIP. One of the attractions at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park is Bike Zip, which allows guests to bike across a cable 150 feet above the ground. Officials said the site will soon offer tandem bike ride and the more challenging unicycle. (Contributed foto)


CAMANAYON Hill Development Corp., the developer of the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park (CHAP), announced it is developing the second phase of the 3.8- hectare adventure site in Carmen, Bohol.

“We are taking the rides to the next level. We will now double the rope courses from 14 to 30 before the end of the year so tourists will have more reasons to visit Bohol,” said managing director Jing Velasco.

The second phase of the project covers the installation of a hanging wall climb, a butterfly park and interaction area, kababayan lounge, zorb ball, tandem and unicycle bike zip, an exhibition area for Bohol’s native products and the introduction of iGirls or information guides in the area.

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The company initially invested P60 million for the development of the project the cover three ridges. The figure is expected to increase with the planned expansions in the pipeline.

Velasco told Sun.Star Cebu that these new developments are the company’s preparation for the projected influx of foreign tourists as soon as the full Asean integration takes place next year and as Bohol tourism traffic returns.

Bohol lost huge tourism revenues by the last quarter of 2013 when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the province in Oct. 15. It destroyed some of Bohol’s historical churches as well as the viewing deck of the famous Chocolate Hills.

Recovery

Based on statistics, Josephine Cabarrus, head of the Bohol Tourism Office (BTO), the province’s tourism is still “slowly recovering” from the aftereffects of the earthquake.

Data from the BTO showed tourism arrivals of Bohol during the last quarter of 2013 dropped by 28.16 percent from 84,346 in 2012 to 60,602. First and second quarter arrivals this year stood at 76,489 and 92,040 respectively a decline of 26.05 percent and 32.85 percent, compared to the arrivals during the same period in 2013.

“The domestic arrivals dropped after the calamity. It is actually the foreign market that is driving the growth of Bohol’s tourism at the moment,” said Cabarrus. She explained that domestic market has tightened their vacation spending to make way for donations to calamity stricken areas. She added they are hoping travel spending to bounce back with the upcoming holidays.

Foreign aid organizations are helping Bohol in tourism assessment and in looking for potential tourism areas for development. The local government, on the other hand, is also heavily marketing the Cebu-Bohol package in international travel fairs.

Tourism stakeholders welcomed the entry of CHAP saying this new tourist attraction saved the province’s countryside tourism during the aftermath of the earthquake.

Opening

“Tourism chief Ramon Jimenez Jr., told me to open the CHAP right away. I declined first because we weren’t ready yet to accept guests but he told me I had no choice,” said Velasco.

The new tourist attraction piqued the interest of both local and foreign markets and these eventually became a hit. Velasco said they tweaked their adventure rides, making it more exhilarating for both young and adults.

Not competing

“We are not here to compete as what others think. We are here to complement what is already being offered in Bohol,” said Velasco. “This is the first of its kind here in Bohol. We are offering a more enhanced tourism experience.”

The Bike Zip, for instance, allows guests to experience a different kind of adrenaline rush wherein a rider pedals on a bike across a cable 150 feet above the ground. Soon the site will offer tandem bike ride and the more challenging unicycle.

CHAP also offers rope courses which include the canopy walk, islands in the sky, burma rope, burma planks, earthquake, vinewalk, Jacob walk, and the zip line. There are also mini rope courses for children aged 6-12 years old.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 28, 2014.

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