Bohol is world famous for being the residence of one of the Philippines’ most popular tourist attractions-the Chocolate Hills, a unique geological formation of over 1200 hills which are spread within 19 square miles. The hills’ grass during dry season turns to chocolate brown, hence the name. As you may already know, Bohol was struck by an earthquake that registered 7.2 magnitude on the Richter Scale on October 15, 2013.
There have been conflicting reports whether tourism activities in Bohol have been suspended as a result of the earthquake, which also affected Cebu. I’ve reached out to the Philippine Red Cross for information on the tragic event, but I have yet to hear back. On October 17, 2013, I had the opportunity to speak with Annie Cuevas from the Los Angeles office of the Philippine Department of Tourism while she was in Las Vegas for IMEX America 2013. She said that tourism-related activities were being conducted as usual in Bohol, but local reports suggested otherwise. As such, I opted to embargo my interview with Cuevas until now, following this weekend’s confirmation that tourism-related activities have indeed resumed. Listen to our conversation via the eTN 2.0 presentation below:
The earthquake prompted the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to issue a statement of support for Philippine tourism on October 18, 2013. The Madrid-based organization said: “UNWTO is deeply saddened by the news of the earthquake that took place in Bohol and Cebu, and on behalf of the international tourism community, UNWTO conveyed its heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims and to the government of the Philippines.”
“Our thoughts at this difficult moment are with the families and friends of the victims and the government and people of Philippines” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. “The livelihoods of many people in these destinations depend on the tourism sector, and UNWTO stands ready to support the Philippines in ensuring the tourism in these areas continues to thrive.”
UNWTO said it transmitted to the government of the Philippines its commitment to support the Department of Tourism and the tourism industry in any tourism-related recovery program to be designed for the affected areas. “UNWTO is confident that with the dynamic leadership of the Government of the Philippines, Cebu and Bohol, both important tourism destinations, will soon recover from this tragic occurrence and continue to play their significant role in tourism growth to the country.”