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Bohol, an island province located in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines, is known for its stunning natural attractions and rich cultural heritage. From the famous Chocolate Hills to the tarsier sanctuaries and pristine beaches, Bohol has become a top destination for tourists from all over the world. In this travel blog, we'll explore the current state of tourism in Bohol and the plans for the near future.
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Current State of Tourism in Bohol
Bohol has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the tourism industry being one of the hardest hit. The closure of borders and the implementation of quarantine protocols have significantly decreased the number of visitors to the island. Many hotels, restaurants, and tour operators have been forced to close their doors, leaving many locals without jobs.
Despite the challenges, Bohol has been working hard to keep its tourism industry afloat. The province has implemented safety protocols to ensure the well-being of both tourists and locals. For instance, hotels and restaurants are required to follow strict health and safety measures, such as regular disinfection and social distancing.
In addition, the local government has launched several initiatives to encourage domestic tourism. The Bohol Tourism Office has been promoting staycation packages and discounted rates for locals to encourage them to explore the island and support local businesses.
Panglao International Airport expansion
The New Bohol Airport, also known as the Panglao International Airport, opened in 2018. The airport has helped to increase tourism in the province, but plans are already underway to expand the terminal. The second phase of the Bohol International Airport expansion project includes expansion of its runway to 2,500m and passenger terminal building to 13,300m² to enhance operational safety at the airport.
The Department of Transportation is planning to build a separate cargo terminal and a parallel taxiway, fuel depot, and fuel hydrant system using the local funds. The plan also includes further extension of the runway to 2,800m.
The Bohol international airport will undergo a PHP3.8bn ($74.4m) project in order to improve passenger flow at terminals, enhance retail and dining experience, and increase the number of flight destinations.
Phase one of the project will include enhancements and installation of internal fit-outs to the existing facilities during 2020 and 2021. Phase two, scheduled between 2026 and 2027, includes optimisation and modification to serve the increased traffic.
Bohol has identified several tourism development areas to further enhance its tourism industry. These areas include the towns of Panglao, Anda, Talibon, and Tubigon. The local government plans to develop infrastructure in these areas, including the improvement of roads and the construction of new tourism facilities such as resorts, restaurants, and souvenir shops. The goal is to provide tourists with more options and to spread tourism throughout the province.
Bohol has a rich cultural heritage, and plans are underway to preserve and promote its cultural and historical sites. The local government plans to improve and develop heritage sites such as the Blood Compact Shrine, Baclayon Church, and the Loboc River. The aim is to make these sites more accessible to tourists and to provide them with more information about the history and culture of Bohol.
Bohol is known for its ecotourism attractions, and the local government plans to further develop sustainable tourism in the province. One of the initiatives is the "Bohol Island Sustainable Tourism Roadmap," which aims to promote sustainable tourism practices and protect the natural environment. The roadmap includes measures such as waste management, renewable energy, and the preservation of biodiversity.
Bohol is a beautiful island province with a lot to offer tourists. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the local government is working hard to keep the tourism industry afloat and to develop new initiatives to attract more visitors to the island. With the upcoming developments, Bohol is set to become an even more popular destination in the near future.