Hostage anger to quell before tourism recovers

In the aftermath of last Monday’s bus hostage drama in the Philippines, tourism industry stakeholders have agreed to bide their time and allow emotions over the drama to subside.

Meanwhile, China’s black travel advisory for the Philippines continues to cost the country millions of pesos in projected losses, ABS-CBN News reported.

"All agreed to keep quiet for the meantime. Anything we do now on a very aggressive basis may be misinterpreted as lack of sincerity. It’s better at this point to sit back, let emotions settle down a bit," Philippine Tour Operators’ Association spokesperson, Cesar Cruz said.

Tour operators as well as hotel and resort owners are already conjuring positive marketing strategies to lure back the Hong Kong and Chinese mainland markets, Mr Cruz said.

The Philippines tourism industry may continue to feel the impact of the black travel alert for the next two months, with optimistic forecasts seeing the situation normalise by November.

"The reaction coming from Hong Kong is expected. The facts are there, the cancellations are coming in. The objective right now is to save the onward bookings from November to March," Mr Cruz said.

Late last week, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said more than 500 flight bookings from Hong Kong and China have been cancelled since China issued the black travel alert, equating to almost eight million pesos in lost revenue.

The local tourism industry is set to be especially hard hit by the timing of the travel warning, which comes during the peak season for Hong Kong holidays.
Mr Cruz said that the tourism industry is also expecting losses from outbound flights to Hong Kong, given that Filipinos usually rush to Hong Kong from September to October because of the "sale season".

Though Filipinos are feeling anxious to travel to Hong Kong as anger mounts over the hostage drama, he said the tourism industry expects Filipino travellers to start booking flights for Hong Kong in two to three weeks.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C
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