LAST Friday’s bombing in Davao’s Roxas night market is an isolated case and the destination – which has carved a reputation as one of the country’s safest – will be resilient, according to the travel trade.
The bombing in Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown, which has claimed 14 lives and injured 68 others, has led to some MICE and hotel booking cancellations in Davao and other areas in Mindanao, as well as security tightening throughout the country.
Blue Horizons Travel and Tours general manager Gregor Zajc said last night he was expecting some cancellations but is hopeful that the blast will have no lingering impact on Davao’s tourism.
Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) president Michelle Victoria, who arrived from Batanes yesterday, said there’s now high security alert on arrival at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and travellers have to arrive four hours in advance before the domestic flight.
“Hopefully the Davao blast is an isolated case,” said Victoria.
At least five countries have issued travel advisories following the Davao blast.
The general manager of an upmarket hotel in Mindanao said 50 room nights have been cancelled since Monday and a business delegation might reset its meeting. Even corporate travel is affected, he said.
The Davao Tourism Association (DATA) has also thrown its support behind Duterte’s administration. “(DATA) members stand together amid any challenge and remain optimistic that tourism in Davao and in the Philippines will continue to improve,” stated the association.
Meanwhile, tourism secretary Wanda Teo assured tourists that Davao remains a safe place for visitors and residents. “The quick and professional response and action of our police, armed forces and security group shows that Davao is well-prepared for contingencies, including isolated attacks like this bombing,” she said.
Teo is also confident that Duterte and the nation’s security forces are more than capable of bringing the perpetrators to justice, managing the aftermath and in preventing further attacks.