Philippine tourism representatives at ATF 2020 this week have reported business conversations as usual despite Taal Volcano’s elevated activity in the Batangas province of Luzon, and the cessation of tourism activities in the vicinity.
Arnold T Gonzales, officer-in-charge and deputy chief operating officer for marketing and promotions with Philippines’ Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), told TTG Asia that travel trade buyers at the show are familiar with his country’s geography.
“Buyers here have not asked much about Taal, which is a good thing because it means they are aware that the rest of the Philippines is still welcoming. We are a large archipelago. We have many gateways into the country that remain open despite the volcanic activity,” said Gonzales.
“Furthermore, flights to NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila) resumed two days ago,” he added.
Nomer Rena, director of sales with Movenpick Resort & Spa Boracay, also reported that Taal has little impact on business.
“I had a few Chinese buyers bringing up the volcano alert in our conversations, which allowed me the opportunity to clarify where we are located, and that Boracay is accessible and open through an international airport and a domestic airport,” said Rena.
“In general, buyers I have spoken to aren’t worried at all,” he added.
Even for representatives from Subic Bay, which shares Luzon island with Taal Volcano, tourism interest remains strong.
Mae Anne T Caseja, recreation and welfare services officer IV, tourism department, with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, said: “We are on the western coast of Luzon, which is the biggest island for the Philippines, so what we are getting from Taal is some ashfall. The air quality is not as good as usual, but one can carry on with daily life. Offices and schools remain open.”
Caseja said there have not been any concerned enquiries about Subic Bay’s continued tourism viability during the lead up to Taal’s impending eruption.
“Even here at the show, none of the buyers have asked us about this matter,” she said.
And with Costa Romantica sailing into Subic Bay tomorrow on schedule, travellers should see that it is still business as usual in the Philippines, emphasised Maria Victoria T Morales, administrative officer I, tourism department, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.