Tourism stakeholders unfazed by UK travel warning

Osmeña Peak, Mt. Mantalungon in Dalaguete, Cebu. (SunStar file)

TOURISM stakeholders in Cebu remain unfazed by the recently-issued travel warning from the UK government, saying it is an isolated case.

They said this will not dampen the arrivals to the province, which has been logging healthy arrivals since the start of the year.

But the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) also did not discount the possibility of slight cancellations following the advisory.

“This travel advisory is an isolated case. It will not lessen the tourist arrivals this month. We may receive slight cancellation but it would be minor. Tourist arrival in Cebu is still high,” said HRRAC president Carlo Suarez.

Meanwhile, tourism advocate Jonathan Jay Aldeguer said he is puzzled why the southern part of Cebu was included in the advisory when it is far from where the bombing incident happened.

But he is confident tourists will not be discouraged from visiting Cebu.

“I’m puzzled how southern Cebu is included in the advisory. While any form of advisory can be detrimental to tourism, I don’t think our bigger international markets that include the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese will be affected by this,” said Aldeguer.

On Sunday, January 27, at least 20 people were killed and several others were injured as a result of the bomb attacks on a Roman Catholic church on Jolo Island in Sulu Province.

The incident prompted UK to raise a travel warning to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups.

It included in its travel advisory all travels to the remainder of Mindanao (excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands) and to the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian, due to the threat of terrorism.

Moreover, Suarez wants stakeholders and the government to tighten security measures especially during this election year.

The UK travel advisory cautioned its people about the upcoming elections on May 13, where additional security measures, such as extra security checks and roadblocks will be put in place in many areas.

“It’s not uncommon to see increases in election-related violence in the run up to the elections. You should keep up to date with local activity and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings of people,” said the travel advisory.

At the start of this year, UK issued a warning against travel to Mindanao after an IED exploded at the entrance of the South Seas shopping mall in Cotabato City on December 31.

The warning, likewise, covered the south of Cebu province, up to and including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian.


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