13 Sep Limketkai Luxe Hotel GM Holds Media Discussion on Blanket Travel Advisories that Have a Bad Effect on Cagayan de Oro’s Tourism
Last September 8, 2016, Limketkai Luxe Hotel General Manager Mr. Jerome de la Fuente held a press conference and media discussion with various media representatives and top CDO bloggers about the current situation in Cagayan de Oro wherein tourism is greatly affected due to blanket travel advisories issued both from embassies in Manila and from specific governments abroad that do not specify where tragedies occur.
Thus, these blanket travel advisories give the wrong impression that Cagayan de Oro is not a safe place to go to and prevents tourists and businessmen – local and from abroad – from coming here. Part of the media discussion was also a call to all media outlets and bloggers to help disseminate the message that Cagayan de Oro is truly safe for travel and tourism.
It will be recalled that last September 2, 2016, a planted IED (Improvised Explosive Device) exploded at the Roxas Night Market in Davao City, killing at least 15 and injuring more than 100 others, some still critically confined in hospitals. A few days after, blanket travel advisories began emanating from several embassies in Manila as well from the Canadian government, the US State Department, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and even from the governments of Japan, China, South Korea, and a few ASEAN countries. The travel advisories commonly stated that “due to the recent bombing in Davao City and with President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a ‘state of lawlessness’ in the country, all forms of travel to all destinations to the (sic) island of Mindanao is deemed dangerous and in high risk.”
The effects of these travel advisories on the hotel industry in Cagayan de Oro is quite staggering, to say the least, according to Mr. de la Fuente. Not only Luxe Hotel, but almost all hotels and inns are being hard hit by the series of reservation cancellations not only for rooms but also for functions.
To say the least, business in hotels is down to a trickle. Even local travelers and businessmen from Luzon and Visayas have cancelled or simply refuse to travel to Mindanao, even to Cagayan de Oro for that matter. According to Mr. dela Fuente, based on ballpark figures from Luxe Hotel alone, 2016 was looking up as a really good year with hotel and function room occupancy going on a continued rise from January to August, the peak being the city’s fiesta celebrations.
However, starting on the first week of September, hotel reservation cancellations went down a staggering 68 percent. Luxe Hotel alone suffered losses of up to 30 percent of its normal sales. Also according to the City Tourism Office, the number of tourist arrivals in Cagayan de Oro during the first quarter exceeded that of last year during the same period. However, by the second week of September, this number fell to almost zero.
Mr. de la Fuente also made an appeal for the imperialist national government to at least issue a counter advisory to specify which areas in Mindanao are safe to travel to, as well as make an appeal to countries to stop issuing travel advisories only when there is conflict in Mindanao, whereas no travel advisories are issued when bombings occur in Manila and the Visayas.