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Philippines assesses damage to tourism

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“We can still encourage tourists to come to our country”

The Philippines’ Haiyan-devastated Visayas islands will need large-scale rehabilitation if tourism there is to be revived, the Philippine Travel Agencies Association said today.

Visayas must undergo a rehabilitation program before promotions and marketing for the area as a tourist destination can start again, said John Paul Cabalza, the association’s president.

Super typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, has rendered millions homeless and is feared to have claimed thousands of lives.

According to the association’s check on its partners and tourist destinations, Boracay is now accessible as the airports in Kalibo and Caticlan have reopened.

In Palawan, Coron has been wrecked but Puerto Princesa remains intact. Bantayan and Camotes in Cebu were battered by the typhoon, while towns in Leyte and Samar have been completely levelled.

Given the massive destruction, Cabalza said: “The affected destinations would have a hard time, at this point, to promote their areas. It’s already a given [as] it’s difficult to go there.”

He stressed that ensuring the safety of travellers and kick-starting a rehabilitation program for infrastructure were therefore paramount.

Wanda Teo, president of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies, said: “We can still encourage tourists to come to our country as there are other tourist spots that were not devastated by the typhoon.”

TTG Asia

[pictured: Quiet white-sand Sabang Beach in Palawan, Philippines, was largely unaffected by the devastation]

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